Planet Bollywood
Producer: Sudhir Mishra Production & Big Pictures
Director: Piyush Jha
Starring: Parzun Dastur, Ayesha Kapur, Sanjay Suri, R Madhavan
Music: Justin-Uday, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Sandesh Shandilya
Lyrics: Kumaar, Neelesh Mishra, Prasoon Joshi
Genre: Social
Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Film Released on: September 2009
Reviewed by: Amodini Sharma  - Rating: 3.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.11 / 10 (rated by 410 viewers)
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You know, if you are ever in a philosophical mood on Fridays (not that I recommend it), you could always wonder about the worrisome fates of child stars who seem to do so well as young, cute kids, but lose luster as they grow up, and re-appear on-screen as boring, weak caricatures who can’t act. And I would be sympathetic, if only a bad film, starring the afore-mentioned child stars hadn’t quite blighted my evening.

Sikandar features (I can’t quite bring myself to say stars) Dastur as young, twittery orphan Sikandar, and Ayesha Kapoor as his classmate Nasreen. Parzan was last seen as the very cute little Sardar boy in Karan Johar’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) and I must say his cuteness is quite diminished. Kapur, we saw as the wild-haired blind and deaf child in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black (2005). The film is set in Kashmir, against a back-drop of terrorism . Sikandar plays a school-going kid bullied by classmates, and befriended by the relatively smarter and stronger Nasreen. One day, walking to school, Sikandar comes across a gun, and picks it up, possibly thinking of it as a deterrent to his bullies. However a gun has many other uses, as well-meaning Sikandar soon finds out . . .

OK – first things first, this film has great locales – it’s shot in Kashmir, so it’s beautiful scenery, and green glades, and narrow, not-so-trodden paths where you would, you think, if you ever ventured there in real life, be over-awed with the Lord’s Great Work. However, it fails on almost every other count. Weak story, poor screenplay, dodgy direction, cryptic and very false-sounding dialogue-baazi, and atrocious acting!

This film’s story has loopholes the size of Texas. And then there is weak-kneed little boy, and his fathomless female friend ; really Nasreen drove me up the wall with all the speaking with her eyes. Only her eyes were on a maun vrat. And Sikandar, good boy and all, yeah ? But brains – not so much. And I’m not asking for Mensa quality IQs here, but common-sense just enough for a teenager? I ask not for too much, do I Lord?

The other actors weren’t that great when it comes to acting either, but that’s not all their fault. Madhavan, who I though had potential to make it big in Hindi filmdom, is bogged down by silly, enigmatic dialogues which sound awkward for his character. He is an Army Colonel, but if you didn’t know that from his fatigues, you’d probably think he was a man of leisure out for an after-dinner stroll; so sauntering was his gait. The colonel while being enigmatic and cryptic, also manages to taunt Mukhtar Mattoo (played by Sanjay Suri) a political peacemaker. Now Suri is many things (and almost all of them good), but a man of peace, however border-line and fence-sitting, he is not.

I know that this is not your usual 'song-dance-melodrama' trash, so will agree with other reviewers who say that this film has good intentions. But are good intentions enough to channel someone’s poor vision on screen and market it, and actually inflict it on poor, unsuspecting viewers ? I think not. This film did nothing for me, and nothing I suspect for the film-maker’s careers either.

You have been warned. And since you have read this review, you are no longer in the “poor, unsuspecting film-viewer” category.

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