The violent elimination of the plotters of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, which killed more than 160 people and injured hundreds, is the subject of this Bollywood action thriller. Loosely based on a best-selling Indian novel (‘Mumbai Avengers’ by Hussain Zaidi), it follows Daniyal (Saif Ali Khan), a reclusive disgraced Indian army soldier who is recruited by the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s highest intelligence agency, to carry out a Rambo-style operation to wreak vengeance on the masterminds behind the reprehensible acts. Daniyal is aided in his mission by Nawaz (Katrina Kaif), a female former RAW agent.
On one level, this is fictional fun in a sort of Bond meets Bourne way, as the globetrotting action flits to London, Chicago, Beirut, Syria and Pakistan. Lead actors Khan and Kaif try their best, but what’s most impressive is how Kaif’s hairstyle remains intact after every high-flying chase. Director Kabir Khan keeps the pace moving with some daring set action sequences and thankfully, the obligatory romance and songs are kept to the minimum.
Unlike previous immensely successful Hindi Pakistan-bashing potboilers, Khan is careful not to categorise all Pakistanis as terrorists but appropriates blame to the Pakistani government. Whatever you may think of this assertion, the gung-ho ‘eye for an eye’ philosophy of the film as the solution to terrorism is worrying. Unsurprisingly, the film has already been banned in Pakistan.