State police officer Inayat Khan’s son is critically injured in a fall and dies because doctors, intimidated by a terrorist’s threat, refuse to treat him. Khan launches an assault on the terrorist, and during the battle guns down the family of 11-year-old Altaaf. Khan and his wife adopt Altaaf, whose new life is shattered when he discovers Khan’s role in the loss of his parents. Ten years later, Altaaf is now a terrorist working for the deeply sinister Hilal Kohistani, who has sent him on a …ission that will destroy India. Altaaf is driven by his hatred for Khan, but his re-encounter with a childhood sweetheart gives him pause.
If you’ve never seen a Bollywood film before, prepare yourself, because this is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Imagine an unholy collision between The Peacemaker and Moulin Rouge (which was itself heavily influenced by the Bollywood aesthetic), and you might have some sense of what you’re in for. The film moves dizzyingly from brutal violence to song and dance and back again (sometimes combining the two), and emotions are always at high do. Not to be missed.
An absolutely fabulous soundtrack. The sound is big, deep and expansive, with terrific lef-right sepration (the explosions seem to arc across the room), and powerful surround presence on the part of both music and sound effects. The music sounds great, the transfer more than doing justice to the sometimes very infectious melodies. All of this applies to the Hindi soundtrack. The English dubbing is okay, as dubbing goes, but inevitably detracts from the performances.
The video isn’t bad, but isn’t quite up to the standard of the audio. The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen is preserved, and the blacks are pretty good, but the colours aren’t always as vibrant as they could be (though they really come alive in some of the musical numbers). There are moments too of grain and a slight flicker. Once in a while there is some speckling too.
Nothing much here: a basic menu, and trailers for Mission Kashmir, Lagaan, Ghandi, and Lawrence of Arabia. This is something of a missed opportunity, as this DVD would be a terrific way of introducing new viewers to some of the standard conventions of Bollywood (the music, the massive use of symbolism, and so on).
A bare bones disc, but in the long run that doesn’t matter. This is a hugely entertaining epic.
Special Features List