Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

October 11, 2013

War and cheese

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:37 pm

October 11, 2013

Cast: Sharman Joshi, Javed Jaffrey, Soha Ali Khan, Sanjay Mishra, Dalip Tahil, Manoj Pahwa

Director: Faraz Haider

Well-intentioned but over-simplistic, War Chhod Na Yaar casts a satirical eye on the hot-button issue of border relations between India and Pakistan, and turns the spotlight on the troops stationed either side of the barbed-wire fence.

Those troops are led by Captain Rana (Sharman Joshi) of the Indian army, and Captain Qureshi (Javed Jaffrey) on the Pakistani side. When TV reporter Ruth Dutta (Soha Ali Khan) travels to the border to shoot a story about an oncoming war, she discovers that a warm friendship exists between the soldiers on both sides, who’re happier to face off in a round of antaakshri than open fire on the other.

Writer-director Faraz Haider uses humor to make the point about China and America’s interests in exploiting Indo-Pak tension. He addresses the apathy of both governments towards their respective armies. There’s even a running joke about underfed Pakistani soldiers searching for the gosht in their daal.

But the gratuitous romantic stirrings between army man and reporter feel just that: gratuitous. And how many times can you make the same joke about cheap unreliable Chinese products? Dalip Tahil gets some laughs, playing as many as four characters in the film – he’s a corrupt Indian minister, a Pakistani statesman, an American senator, and virtually unrecognizable as a Chinese general. But the usually dependable Sanjay Mishra hams it up as a senior Pakistani commander.

War Chhod Na Yaar succeeds in treating a grim subject with a light hand. Sharman Joshi and Javed Jaffrey are in good form, but the script loses steam well before the finish line. I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five. It’s not extraordinary, but it’s got some clever ideas.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

1 Comment »

  1. The premise of this film was brilliant but the execution left a lot to be desired. For once, Sharman Joshi didn’t look very convincing in the role of a tough army Captain, he was too “soft” for that part if you know what I mean.

    The Pakistani soldiers didn’t look very “Pakistani” to me. In real life, most of them happen to be Punjabis or Pashtoons and are usually tall, well-built, healthy and fair complexioned. Except for Javed Jaffrey, noone looked the part very convincingly. Moreover, their Marathi-Gujarati style pronunciation of Urdu words didn’t help matters: Pakistanis or people who speak Urdu as a first language pronounce its words in a very different way.

    Also, some of the scenes depicted in the movie such as some of the lazy, lousy teenagers “shaping public opinion” on war with their cross-border friends on Facebook. Know what, I wouldn’t trust such nikammah, self-absorbed teenagers of Facebook generation with keeping my house clean (last time I invited some of these party poopers to my home, they trashed the whole place with no sense of responsibility) leave alone making educated opinions about the country. Sorry that requires certain degree of intellectual refinement.

    The only character I liked was Dalip Tahil in his multiple avatars. Especially when that Pakistani general asks his Chinese counterpart to translate his message in “Punjabi”, I think that part was hilarious.

    Comment by Sahil — November 7, 2013 @ 2:56 pm

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