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“Mission Kashmir”, “LOC: Kargil” & “Sikandar”
"Lamhaa" (translated as 'In the moments') revolves around the 1989 operations and conditions in Kashmir. The film tells about the condition within that year when the people of Kashmir turned refugee in their own country.
Vikram (Sanjay Dutt) plays the role of an intelligence officer who is sent to Kashmir on a special mission using a secret identity. He is to investigate a sinister plot made to derail ongoing elections there. Haji (Anupam Kher) plays one of the sinister politicians, who will stop at nothing to create the mess. Aziza (Bipasha Basu), a young woman with her personal revenge joins Vikram in order to help his mission.
The film's strongest asset will surely be the cast. Sanjay Dutt, who has been appearing in a lot war movies does not disappoint as his strong character takes the film forward. To play his love lead, many actresses were considered (Karisma Kapoor and Ameesha Patel to name a few) but most all of them backed out as they were afraid to shoot in Kashmir. Even Bipasha Basu who was cast also left without informing the film crew when a small crowd went uncontrolled. Eventually, she returned to finish the film. Despite all, casting her was probably the best choice as she brings a completely new look. Using his experience, Anupam Kher delivers a strong supporting role as well.
Discussing about corruption, the plot might bore audiences, while the cinematography proves a disappointment as Kashmir is often referred to as the most beautiful place on earth but we do not get to see it here. Good news for the music though as it introduces a new composer in town - Mithoon. The songs contains meaningful lyrics plus amazing vocals, namely songs like Madhno Re, Sajnaa and Zameen O Aasma, which sounds very modern and pleasant to the ear.
It's foreseeable that whenever a film plot has the subject mention about Kashmir, controversy derives automatically. "Lamhaa" is officially banned in countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Oman and even in Kashmir as well in order to avoid controversies. Luckily for Malaysia, India and Singapore, it manages to pass the censorship board without any censorship.
Overall, the director perhaps had a motive of his own with the plot, to the extent of shooting the film in the heart of Kashmir. It did not work for him in many ways but it definitely triggers a different meaning altogether. The film initiates real problems and issues that might still be taking place in Kashmir today.Cinema Online, 19 July 2010