Shoot On Sight Movie Review: Well Intentioned
You have it to hand it out to director Jagmohan Mundhra. All his recent films derive their stories from real life incidents. He picks his stories from newspapers and then proceeds to transform them to reel, as he did with Kamla, Bawandar and Provoked among others. This time too he picks on a very topical subject for his film Shoot On Sight. It follows, like quite a few films before it, in the aftermath of 9/11 on the world the perceptions about the Islamic community being one of them. The story that he picks up is quite explosive and bold, but somehow, Mundhra is unable to boldly proceed to the end. In short, the choice of subject is commendable but the treatment not so. The film is set in post 9/11 in London, in the aftermath of the underground bombings of July 2005. Muslims come under the scanner as never before as the London police issues a shoot on sight order. An honest cop, Tariq Ali (Naseeruddin Shah), working for Scotland Yard, finds himself caught in a seemingly no win situation as he is not fully trusted by his colleagues at work. With the city of London gripped by this terrorist fear, an unfortunate incident happens when a Muslim youth suspected to be a terrorist is gunned down by the cops. Ali is asked to investigate the shooting. But Ali's situation does not win him the trust of either his colleagues or his Muslim brethren, specially the shrill fundamentalists in the community, led by Om Puri. He is married to an English woman (Greta Sacchi), who still practices her own religion. Distrusted by both sides, Ali finds his inquiry being hampered time and again. Into this scenario, enters Ali's nephew from Pakistan, who comes to live with them. Evidence pointing to the innocence of the gunned down Muslim surfaces, while at the same time, Ali discovers that his nephew (Zulfikar) is himself a terrorist and the activities have been going on in his backyard. Take the right decision has never been so tough for the upright Ali. The film, very brilliantly manages to capture the situation that ordinary Muslims face worldwide due to their religion, the distrust and the prejudice that is prevalent everywhere. What really lifts the film are the performances, especially that of Naseeruddin Shah. He stands out, head and shoulders above the rest of the cast as he manages to bring alive the dilemma of a Muslim in troubled times as these. Om Puri's shrill, dogmatic Muslim is also quite impactful. Pakistani actor Mekaal is impressive as well as Naseer's nephew. Greta Sacchi too does a good job. The film works very well in the acting department but it fails in the script and screenplay department, which proves to be the film's biggest weakness. The locations are, for the most part authentic; the cinematography by Madhu Ambat is good. Mundhra's sincerity is never in question. Shoot On Sight is a very well intentioned take on the prejudices existing in the world today. The choice of subject elevates the film to a different level.
Release Date : 17 October 2008
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Producer : Aron Govil
Director : Jagmohan Mundhra
Cast : Brian Cox, Sadie Frost, Chris Wilson, Greta Scacchi, Ralph Ineson, Gulshan Grover, Laila Rouass, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Mikaal Zulfikar, Clemency Burton-Hill, Tolga Safer, Stephen Greif, Cloudia Swann, India Wadsworth, John Warman, Avtar Kaul, Alex McSweeney, Jamie Doyle, Jayson Whiteley, Taru Devani, Clifford Samuel, Arrun Harker
Genre : Thriller