Rating: Bearable (* * 1/2)
Before I start writing this review I would like to pay my tribute to all those who lost their lives or suffered during the worst terrorist attacks that might have ever happened in India and I would only pray that attacks like 26/11 should never happen anywhere in the world ever again!
Phantom is a movie focusing on a tensed relationship between India and Pakistan after 26 November 2008’s (26/11) terrorist attacks on Mumbai. Director Kabir Khan, who delivered smashing hit like Bajrangi Bhaijaan this year which spread the message of peace in two countries and was hit in both India and Pakistan, came with Phantom which apparently got banned in Pakistan for obvious reasons. I would not want to go into politics while writing this review so I shall stick to movie only and will leave up to these two countries to decide the fate of victims and accused of these attacks.
Story: From trailer and movie’s tag line, everyone knows what this movie is all about and what could be the story, so there is no point in telling the story here but what is important to mention was the screenplay of the movie and how it could have been far much better than what was actually shown on the screen. Daniyaar Khan (Saif Ali Khan) who was an army officer and was thrown out of the army due to his ‘allegedly’ irresponsible act during the war (which I failed to understand for some reason). He is now living his life all alone in a shame, has lost honour and so scared to face his family. One day he was approached by RAW to carry out a covert operation to bring the justice by executing those who carried out 26/11 attacks and are still planning to attack India again. The operation was supposed to be inspired from USA’s operation which killed Osama. When Indian Prime Minister does not give permission to RAW to go ahead with this operation, they still go ahead while promising to keep it secret. They keep on searching for most suitable candidate to carry out this operation and zero in on Daniyaar Khan, since he had been thrown out of the army and has little information about him anywhere in the news or social media (P.S. He does not have Facebook and Twitter account as well and RAW emphasize on this fact, funny but true!). Daniyaar, who wants his lost honour back, finally agrees to be part of this operation which involves killing all perpetrators of 26/11 attacks but showing all those deaths as accidents – What a plan!!!
To know how he does it, whether succeeds or fails in it and what impact does this operation cause on India and Pakistan, go and watch the movie.
In this operation he gets the much needed support from none other than Nawaaz, played by Katrina. If that was not funny, then Director Kabir Khan also tried to show some love angle between this pair. I mean why? Why every Bollywood movie has to have love story? With such a serious topic at the heart of this movie, what was the need to show two more hearts beating for each other?
Acting: Talking about acting, Saif has done what he always does the best – ‘Being Saif’. Katrina, as usual, tried to speak better Hindi and tried to act whenever she got the chance. Rest all characters – RAW chief and agents, did what they could do, that is relaxed after putting Saif’s life into risk (since operation was covert). Other supporting actors who played Indian spies and Pakistani army officials acted for the worth of money that they got paid for.
Review: To be honest, if this movie would have been handled by some really serious director (and not by a typical Bollywood director) it would have been more serious. The movie was made like any other commercial Bollywood flick and I think director like Neeraj Pandey (of A Wednesday) might have given the proper justice to the movie. It lacked all the seriousness of the issue and at some point I was confused if I was watching Phantom or Agent Vinod, if you know what I mean!
While Kabir Khan had handled this kind of sensitive topic in his movie NewYork but the plot for that movie was completely different than this movie and so it was justified at that time.
I still wish the story would have been true but certainly not the way showed in this movie!!!
And I still feel the need of the reel and real version of the justice for victims to come to life, sooner than later.