If we look at the villains of our Hindi films, most of them have been the lusty lovers of the heroine or have killed some family member of our beloved heroes/heroines. Besides these personal references, there have been socially/politically relevant villains in our films right from the evil zamindar, to the corrupt minister, followed by the underworld don or a rich businessman from an upper cast. Along with these villains the Britishers were too, one of our favourite villains, popularly known as 'Goraa' or 'Angrez' followed by the Pakistan army.The reason for these villains, especially the international ones were due to the trouble we had to face in past and thus connected instantly with our audiences. The latest to join them are the anti-national elements or terrorist where our heroes eliminate them. Initially it started with indirect references followed by some direct or striking similarities in films like 'D-day', 'Baby', etc. The latest to join them is 'Phantom' which is based on the Hussain Zaidi's book, 'Mumbai Avengers' and has real references of the Islamic terrorist as villains who had masterminded the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Thus, let's find out whether director Kabir Khan will be able to do justice to such powerful theme, or might end up being a weak clone of films like 'Baby' and 'D-day'.Story:
'Phantom' is a story of Daniyal Khan (Saif Ali Khan), who after being court martialed from the Indian army is approached by the top members of our defense service R.A.W (Sabyasachi Chakrabarty & Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub). The top members of R.A.W want to avenge the terrorist attacks which happened on 26th November in Mumbai. They want Daniyal to kill the top terrorists associated with the attacks and show it as an accident. Daniyal along with Nawaz Mistry (Katrina Kaif) sets out for the mission and what happens next is what the entire film is all about.Screenplay & Technicalities:
The story as we all know is inspired from the book 'Mumbai Avengers', but has been extremely modified in its cinematic avatar. It has shades and references with 'D-day' and 'Baby' but despite of those instant resemblance the movie has its own story to narrate. The movie starts with a low note without any conviction in forming this mission, but as the story moves ahead the movie sets on a thrilling roller coaster ride with lots of high and some low points in the middle portion of the film. The first half has back to back three missions and leaves no breathing space for you to think or even blink. The second half starts on a slow note followed by slow undercurrent and the final mission, leading the aftereffects. The thriller part in the finale portion is of top notch and keeps you glued to the silver screen. The only problem is that most of the missions gets accomplished very easily, thus the conviction and connect factor gets a bit diluted. The Indian government support and R.A.W agents planning lacked the intensity. All the missions are brilliantly narrated followed by few good emotional scenes featuring Katrina Kaif and Sohaila Kapur followed by Katrina narrating her childhood experience at the Taj Mahal hotel leading to Katrina's entry in the submarine. The dialogues are crisp and direct reference to the evil masterminds adds up as a positive point in the film. The cinematography is superb and the movie has been shot on many exotic locations (Beirut, Kashmir, etc) giving the film a whole international premise attached to it. The editing could have been a little better in the middle part of the film.Music & Direction:
The music by Pritam is not memorable. 'Afghan Jalebi' is foot tapping and interesting. Background music works as an additional screenplay in the film.
Director Kabir Khan delivers a hard hitting film which will remind you of his best films 'Kabul Express' and 'New York'. The movie is extremely high in most of its portion and equally low in few of them. The direct reference of Islamic terrorists as villains (Hafiz Saeed, David Headly, Sajid Mir and Lakhvi) is daring and path breaking. He ends up delivering a fine film with good message attached to it which probably is a wish of all true Indians.Performances:
Saif Ali Khan is great in his part and probably one of his finest performance in recent times. Katrina Kaif looks gorgeous and performs well in her part. Sabyasachi Chakrabarty, Sohaila Kapur and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub lend good superb.So bol meri 'Filmi Khopdi' iss film mein kitna hain Dum???
Dum??? The movie might not be as hard-hitting as 'D-day' or highly patriotic and entertainer like 'Baby', but nevertheless has its own style and merits to cherish. The secret desire of a true Indian is captured in this film where India fights back with vengeance and deserves to be watched by everyone who were disturbed by the terror happenings in our country.Ratings - 4/5 (Have added an additional star for the daring usage of the direct references in the film)