Shootout at Lokhandwala
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Vivek Oberoi, Amrita Singh
Direction: Apoorva Lakhia
This one is about 10,000 bullets, 20,000 knives, 50,000 split-screens, 80,000 bleach-outs, 1,00,000 Unsteadicam shots and a singularly disjointed, out-as-Oliver-Stone narrative style. And since it's a Sanjay Gupta production, it’s also about men who walk like cowboys straight into the camera. Come to think of it, there’s helluva lot of walking going on here.
So, Shootout at Lokhandwala, directed by Apoorva Lakhia, is said to be inspired by the massacre of the Maya Dolas gang by a police task force, circa 1991. Okay, so the police ‘heroes’ -- Sanjay Dutt believable, Suniel Shetty absolutely unbelievable wearing a stubble-beard which cops don’t and Arbaaz Khan in a fluttering moustache – are doing their job by walking, smoking, glaring, staring.
The ubiquitous Mr Bachchan is listening to their story – and you’re not sure whether he likes them or not. Can’t blame him.
And there are the baddies Maya Dolas (Vivek Oberoi), Tusshar Kapoor (hopelessly miscast) and some severe unwashed types who look like the adopted children of Ram Gopal Varma. Now, the M Company walks all over Bombay, killing, smoking, dancing, dancing, dancing (there are three items, all of them with one Aartiji), saying bad bad mc-bc words. And only Maya’s mum (Amrita Singh) cooks fish for them.. and doesn’t believe that the fish’s mum will cry in the sea. Bangda fry all this.
Anyway, the Good and Bad Walkers have this showdown which is duly reported by Dia Mirza as TV journo Nuttu Mattu (who’s that?). The opening two reels are engaging, the climax has its thrilling flashes but tends to go yawn till you want to run into a bullet yourself.
Finally, after making gangsters exotic – Mr D is inevitably seen with underfed blondes in bikinis – Lakhia glorifies the mass police encounter. Simple yaar.. make both the parties feel good, no jhagdampatti.
The best-etched roles and performances, in any case, come from the Dolas bunch. Vivek Oberoi is outstanding, ably supported by the steel strong Amrita Singh. The other women are as decorative as Chinese lanterns.
Clearly, here’s a case of wanting to have one’s cashew cake and eat it to. Come on, let’s get real Lakhia/ Gupta and Co. Even if it’s just entertainment, let’s look at an incident of human bloodshed with some amount of objective film reportage. There’s really no point in relying on rumours, true or untrue.