Movie Review: Lanka

A; Drama
Dir: Maqbool Khan
Cast: Manoj Bajpai, Arjan Bajwa and Tia Bajpai
Stars: One and a half (*1/2)

Jaswant Sisodiya (Manoj Bajpai) is the uncrowned king of Bijnor, a crime ridden area in UP. Here, murders go unpunished, lands are usurped and women are treated like commodities. We have seen this in many movies earlier, Lanka seems like just another extension of those movies - depressing and totally devoid of entertainment.

The story revolves around the misery of an independent doctor by day and a helpless keep of Sisodiya by night, Anshu (Tia Bajpai). Sisodiya wouldn't marry her but visit her every night, and wouldn't let her escape with her equally miserable parents.

While we are still wondering why the one sad expression wonder Anshu is not even making an attempt to escape, in comes Sisodiya's brother (Arjan Bajwa), who promptly falls in love with her and wants to get her out of the misery.

Now, while the movie goes ahead in a monotonous speed, going on and on about how miserable Anshu is, accompanied by background music which is just right for a Ramsay ghost movie, the whole point gets lost somewhere. What is director Maqbool Khan harping about? If he wants to talk about emancipation of women, show us a strong woman who is at least capable of putting up a decent fight. Not a masochist, so-called well-educated girl, who doesn't really need a terror like Sisodiya to exploit her. Any MCP could easily do the job.

Then there is another parallel and slightly more interesting plot, where the corrupt egoistic cop Bhoop Singh (Yashpal Sharma) has ego battles with Sisodiya and who is looking for revenge.

Apart from the main question, why the hell should anyone watch this movie, there are other issues that keep coming up. Like why doesn't Sisodiya marry her? Looks like that would have solved most of the problems. Oh, he does offer a halfhearted, totally non-convincing explanation at the end. But by then one has lost all interest in who is in love with whom and who is dying or living.

While the expression plastered on Tia's face is that of misery all through the film, Arjan too has a perplexed look throughout. Good thing about it is even if you went off to sleep mid way, you wake up to the same expression, so that you don't feel like you have missed anything.

Lanka evokes no emotions, except feel sorry for tremendously talented actors like Manoj Bajpai and Yashpal Sharma.

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