Would you approve killing in the name of encounter? Is it legal to kill with the disguise of being a police?
Shootout At Lokhandwala, directed by Apoorva Lakhia, takes it main story from the six hour long battle between a horde of cops and a group of gangsters that actually happened years back on the lanes of Lokhandwala in Mumbai. It is based on one of the most long and drawn out encounters in the history of Mumbai police in which underworld don Dawood Ibrahim?s henchmen Maya Dolas and Dilip Bua and few others were killed by the then commissioner of police, Aftaab Ahmed Khan and his team.
Shootout At Lokhandwala, , is a multi-starrer with Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Vivek Oberoi, Arbaaz Khan, Tusshar Kapoor and Sunil Shetty in key roles. The movie also stars Abhishek in a guest appearnace, Rohit Roy and Shabbir Ahluwalia in supporting roles. Dia Mirza, Neha Dhupia and Aarti Chabria are the female supporting roles. Rakhi Sawant makes a special appearance.
ACP Aftab Ahmad Khan (Sanjay Dutt) picks the best police and constables to form ATS ? Anti Terrorist Squad. The squad includes Kaviraj Patil (Suniel Shetty) and Javed Shaikh (Arbaaz Khan) as Khan?s best officers. The squad eliminates the violent and unpredictable gangsters in a residential locality of Mumbai. Dingra( Amithab Bachchan) is the lawyer who fights for these police officers when the police department and human rights commission files a case against them for the deadly encounter.
The story is about Maya (Vivek Oberoi) and Dilip Bhuwa (Tusshar Kapoor), who made extortion the buzzword in the early 90s. RC (Shabbir Ahluwalia), Fatim/ Fatoo (Rohit Roy) and Doubling (Aditya Lakhia) are others in the gang.
This group of gangsters was led by Maya Dolas, a 26 year old man, who had a rough persona and came from a troubled background. He was taught one thing by his mother and that is to hit back when threatened. Whether his upbringing as a criminal was just due to this fact may never really be known but the fact is that he made steady progress in underworld. In his gang was his loyal companion Buwa, who was next in power after Maya. Fattu?s initial assignment didn’t quite work the way it ideally should have and hence he was nicknamed ‘fattu’ [someone who gets scared quite easily]. Though Fattu did commit many a murders later on with complete confidence the name stuck to him. The gang had its comic element coming in the form of Doubling, a man who said everything twice. RC was constantly drunk and this is what kept him on his feet. Because whenever he was in conscious, he could sense the ghost of a family whom he had killed unintentionally.
ACP Khan believed that the best way to clear a police station?s rack of records is by eradicating the criminal. Leading Anti Terrorist Squad, he was now on one of the toughest missions of his life as he guided his team to take the battle heads on. Inspector Kaviraj Patil had a dry sense of humor. As ruthless as his boss Khan, he too was heartless when it came to criminals. Constable Javed Sheikh was perhaps the most complex character of all. Turning pessimistic due to the kind of life a cop leads with limited earning and a difficult way of life, Javed was almost neutralized by the entire state of affairs.
And once the battle between these two sides of law commenced, the city saw one of the bloodiest encounter ever. Then in the form of enquiry commission, bloomed a different kind of battle, to figure out if the encounter done was right or wrong. Advocate Dhingra , former Chief Justice, his job was to hear the story from the heroes of the longest encounter in police history, solve the jigsaw puzzle and present it to the court of justice.
Meeta Mattoo (Dia Mirza) is a bold and beautiful reporter who covers the encounter live. Tannu (Aarti Chabria) is a bar dancer. Neha Dhupia is Sanjay Dutt?s wife. Aai(Amrita Singh) is the proud mother of Maya.
Apoorva Lakhia succeeds in making this movie a gripping fare though the brutality and carries a gray look throughout to give the film a natural look. He has given the right treatment the movie requires for its impact. It?s a crude, raw and violent movie. The movie begins with spots of blood here and there on the streets and in the building of Lokhandwala and the movie end with blood-soaked gangsters being carried away. The movie plot construction is slightly complex as it?s the three cops who narrate the incidents that lead to the shootout as the advocate enquires them to submit a justification in the court of law.
Sanjay Dutt, as the Assistant commissioner, with his bold and strong personality suits the role best. His performance is marvelous throughout and is worth applause. Suniel Shetty mixes the right elements of wit and arrogance and carries the role of a ruthless and heartless police officer excellently well. Arbaaz Khan is also competent enough and has clear sings of improvement. Vivek Oberoi is good in his role as a gangster. Being trained by a real gangster, he could have done more justice to the role. Tusshar Kapoor just doesn?t suit the role a gangster. His acting seems forced and completely unnatural. Shabbir Ahluwalia, Rohit Roy and Aditya Lakhia are ok. Dia Mirza, as a reporter, has performed well. Aarti Chhabria is mesmerizing as a dancer girl. Neha Dhupia is good. She has very few scenes and nothing to be judged in them. Amrita Singh gets the act just right and justifies her presence in the film. Abhishek Bachchan is adorable in his 15 minutes part as he takes on migrant terrorists from Punjab.
Positives: The raw and crude handling of the movie by the director is fantastic. Watch out for the three sequences where Suneil Shetty and Arbaaz Khan get into a perfect and intense English, Urdu and Hindi conversation. The background scores is excellent and in par with the fast pace of the movie.
Negatives: Two songs in the movie were unnecessary and also meaningless. The very concept of keeping songs, in a film belonging to a fast forward variety, is best if skipped. Special appearance by Rakhi Sawant was an unwanted inclusion.
Shootout At Lokhandwala has curtailed its audience by its crude and violent theme with a natural touch throughout. This is certainly not a film for those who are looking for a feel-good outing. For those of the tough kind, this is one movie that is not to be missed. Business will be good at multiplex and especially in Mumbai.