Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Sanjay Dutt, Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta, Sonali Kulkarni, Jackie Shroff
Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Similarly Requested DVDs
Orrin C. Judd | Hanover, NH USA | 08/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the great things about Bollywood is that for Americans who are tired to death of the inanity and sameness of summer blockbuster-type
movies, these imports from India offer a completely different kind of movie experience. Mission : Kashmir, for example, presents a dedicated and happily married policeman trying to stop terrorists. Easy enough to predict how Hollywood would handle that one : Michael Bay or some other loud noise and explosion director; Bruce Willis/Nicholas Cage/Arnold Schwarzenegger starring; Rene Russo as the wife; plenty of blood and death and snappy one-liners; no emotions; no thought required. It's all so familiar and insipid you wouldn't even rent it went it comes to video. Bollywood may be just as formulaic in its own way, but it is very much its own way and besides being fresh and different for an American viewer the formula also seems superior in several important aspects. First, despite the Hindu nationalism of India, which would make you think filmmakers would shy away, the stories use politics and history to
illuminate contemporary concerns--most often the clash between rival religions. So in Mission : Kashmir, the hero, Inspector Inayat Khan is a
Muslim loyal to India, hunting down Muslim terrorists who are trying to "liberate" Kashmir and destroy India. His particular hatred of the terrorists is fueled by a fatwa which was placed upon anyone who assists him or his family, so that when his son fell from a window no doctor would treat the boy even as he lay dying in Khan's arms. But rather than present everyone as cardboard cutouts, uniformly bad or uniformly good, the film explores the legacy of hatred and the currents of violence that have made people hate each other. In one especially effective scene, after a police raid in which Kahn's Hindu deputy, Avinash, has gone berserk, his Sikh colleague, Gurdeep Singh, tries comforting him. But as Avinash bemoans the loss of loved ones to terror and wails that Gurdeep can't know what it is like, Gurdeep explodes in rage because his family was murdered by Hindus rioting after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. In a nation where so many ethnicities and religions have co-existed so uncomfortably, everyone has his own scars, some quite horrible. Another refreshing feature of these films is that they quite revel in melodrama and pathos. So when Khan exacts his revenge, slaughtering an entire village to get at the terrorist leader who issued the fatwa, he rescues the man's son and at the insistence of his own wife, Neelima, adopts him. The child, Altaaf, who witnessed the raid, is nearly catatonic and is obsessed with the ski-masked gunman who shot his father. When, several years later, he finds the mask in Khan's desk drawer, he runs away from home, is taken in by a Kashmiri terrorist who raises him as a son, and dedicates himself to getting revenge on Kahn. So the father is responsible for the death of Khan's son and Khan is responsible for the death of the father and now the son and Khan will duel to the death with the struggle in Kashmir, and the jihad of the boy's third "father", as a backdrop--and so violence begets violence and passes from generation to generation. Meanwhile, Neelima, who is Hindu, is torn between the two men she loves and when Altaaf returns as a young man, hell-bent on murdering her husband, she tries desperately to convince him that no religion, no cause, no blood feud can justify his course of action, that he has a choice to make, between love and hate and good and evil. But just the fact of her temporarily eluding security to meet with him brings down the distrust of Kahn's Hindu superiors upon him and Kahn confronts her, saying she'll have to choose between him and her "son". And, of course, when the final confrontation comes, Altaaf does indeed have to choose between the vengeful and mindless sectarian violence or the kind of love and healing of which his "mother" spoke. Granted, many of these scenes are way over the top and somewhat implausible, but they're at least trying to elicit some reaction from us. The
filmmakers want to invoke the emotions that might drive such destructive, even self-destructive, behaviors--to make us at least share the feelings if not the thoughts of the various characters. Think how different this is than say a Die Hard movie, where the terrorists are merely evil incarnate with no coherent motivation. The final innovation that Bollywood brings to the movies is one that can take some getting used to and is particularly jarring in a film like this one. Bollywood productions tend to be musicals--not musicals as in the Sound of Music either, where there are songs throughout and some pretense for them, but musicals in the sense that big production numbers break out nearly at random, often blending in elements of fantasy, with no real
intention of moving forward the narrative of the film. Here the songs begin at a couple of really odd moments, once during a major terrorist assault and once when Kahn has unknowingly brought a bomb home in his briefcase. Just when we'd expect the film to try and exploit the tension of the situation, the stars start singing and dancing. As if the timing wasn't disconcerting enough, the song during the attack turns into a huge Up With People type extravaganza. It's exceedingly odd. But it's also so unusual that it ends up being rather exhilarating and it's certainly memorable. If all this isn't enough to intrigue you : the cinematography and the scenery in Kashmir are spectacular; the screenplay's cowritten by the fine
novelist Vikram Chandra; there are any number of terrific action sequences; there's a romantic angle as Altaaf finds the girl he loved in childhood; and the actors and actresses are uniformly fabulous looking. Sanjay Dutt is especially appealing as Kahn, big, bluff, and tough, with the manly good looks of a Jack Lord or a Victor Mature. Hrithik Roshan, as Altaaf, is more the Brad Pitt-type, a pretty and sensitive hearththrob, but it's very much Dutt's picture and he carries it ably. With all this going for it and with terrorism and Kashmir so much in the news, it seems likely that even if you're new to Bollywood, this is a film you'll enjoy and a timely introduction to the fine crop of films coming out of India these days. GRADE : A-"
Americans can start watching Bollywood with this one.
Rykre | Carson City, Nevada | 07/13/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you have or haven't seen Lagaan or Monsoon Wedding yet, or you feel slightly discouraged about watching foreign films where you have to read English Subtitles, this film "Mission Kashmir" is a great place to start if you want to capture that great Indian film, Bollywood experience, that so many people in America are starting to discover. (Bollywood means Bombay's Hollywood).
This DVD of "Mission Kashmir" gives you an English Audio track to listen to so that you don't have to struggle with reading as you're watching. The English dubbing has some voices that your kids hear when they watch English dubbed "Japanese Anime".
In India, in the exciting world of Bollywood, this film has one of the hottest male stars of Indian cinema. His name is Hrithik Roshan. Ladies are going nuts over this handsome guy. As in other Bollywood films that he's done, Hrithik Roshan is quickly becoming the most popular male star of Bollywood. Some of his other films that are popular (in India, and other countries outside of America), are "Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai", "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham", "Fiza", and "Mujhse Dosti Karoge". If you find a way to rent these films, you're in for a treat. Your husband may enjoy them too, because the girls in these films are gorgeous too.
In "Mission Kashmir", the female co-starring with Hrithik is Preity Zinta. She has also been in some Indian Blockbusters, such as "Chori Chori Chupke Chupke", "Dil Chahta Hai", and "Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega", just to name a small few.
The other main character of this film is more of a Bollywood veteran star named Sanjay Dutt. Many of his big movies include; "Khal Nayak", "Khoobsurat", "Vaastav" and "Daud" (This film "Daud" features an intensely sexy song video with the undenyably gorgeous Urmila Matondkar). I'm sure Sanjay Dutt has had many other popular films, but I don't follow him as much as I do other Bollywood stars.
Now I'll close with just a small comment about Bollywood. I've come to recognize that women enjoy the stories of Indian films better than men do. I guess women have longer attention spans, then most men. Indian films aren't for the bone-headed, simple mindedness that American Blockbuster films rely on. These stories are more intricate and detailed. Most men prefer American Hollywood films more because Hollywood does more special effects, and extensive violence and blatant use of fowl language. In other words, men usually don't want to follow a story, men don't want to have to think, they just want to be entertained by unrealistic action scenes, and watching people get beat up and/or killed. Many Hollywood Blockbusters aren't much when it comes to an actual story...
Bollywood films have a lot more to offer than just visual effects. Maybe it's just me, but I happen to love watching beautiful girls dance. In Bollywood, song videos are normal. I'll agree with some people though. Some of the songs, although passionate and sexy, still seem a little out-of-text with the story here. But, luckily, you can always skip the songs by simply jumping to the next chapter. You also have an option with the DVD to just watch the song videos without the movie, which I enjoy when I don't have time to watch a full movie. I even have a "Priety Zinta" Song DVD collection where her song videos are mixed up with other song videos from other movies that she's done. These song videos are usually filmed in some exotic paradise location, or in hot dance bar, or somewhere else, which is so colorful and exciting. India's Bollywood song videos are like watching "moving, active, visual art for the mind and the ears." The hell with MTV, I'd rather watch visual art that is sensual, not angry and disturbing. I mean, what do YOU watch music videos for?
"Mission Kashmir" is a great place to start for both men and women. It's got a great detailed story, and it's got your violence, too. It's got handsome guys and gorgeous girls. And the DVD has an English voice track, so nobody has to think too hard... What's more, most all Bollywood DVD's have an English subtitle option. That wasn't always the case with VHS. This factor alone is helping to bring Bollywood to the American audience.
So, give this one a try. I'm sure you'll enjoy this new movie experience."
Incredibly moving film!
James F. Welch | New Orleans, LA | 08/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen this movie 4 times now. Once with some friends and once with some European young people visiting the US. Everyone was immediately drawn into the engrossing story. Everything about the movie is very moving. The other reviewers have discussed these features and others and I don't want to repeat them, except to say that I agree with almost all of them.
Additionally, I would suggest that perhaps this, and other, Bollywood films, while following a very modern, hip, glossing product, are also recapitulating Classical Indian drama in many ways. Classical Indian drama, such as Kalidasa's Sakuntala, used many of the same dramatic devices found in Mission Kashmir. There was always music, usually to express emotion and usually the singing of poetry, much like we see here. Dancing was obligatory and the dancers had to use stylized hand and finger positions during the dance.
Classical drama also had characters who were often more symbolic than realistic. Unusual plot twists were common. There was always a hero, usually portrayed as some kind of symbol of Rama or Krishna.
Another thing that I noticed about the film is how Neelima becomes a symbolic figure, almost Mother India, who sacrifices herself for love.
This is a terrific film for a million reasons. It is very educational for Americans after September 11. A large number of the characters tell us in no uncertain terms why they have made the choices they have. In this respect, this movie is very disturbing and sobering, in spite of the unlikely happy ending. It should definitely leave one thinking."
Terrific music, great film, but don't forget it's fiction
Rykre | 07/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Mission Kashmir. The music is terrific, and - it has to be said - sung by fans even in Kashmir itself, where this film went down like a lead balloon when it was shown on cable. Put aside any thoughts that Mission Kashmir tells the 'truth' about Kashmir: it is a (well-made) Bollywood epic, not a documentary. Even so, it represents the classical Indian view of Kashmir - and ought to be watched by those interested in the politics of Kashmir. However, that aside, the music - and the fact that parts of the film were filmed in the Kashmir Valley (Dal Lake, and the Chief Secretary's house up Gupkar Road) merit a viewing. Do go watch it."