Sunday, May 13, 2007

[DVD] Zameen (2003)

Band of Brothers

Zameen doesn't restraint itself in its exploration of transnational terrorism, and doesn't mince its words in the inclusion of Pakistan in state sponsored terrorism by radical army elements, in their support of the mujahedeens battling in Pakistan Owned Kashmir. Being a fictional piece of work, the movie works on two fronts, that by the army in its fight to capture a wanted terrorist Baba Zaheer (Mukesh Tiwari), and on the home front, where 4 operatives enter India to do their dastardly deed.

Ajay Devgan stars as Colonel Ranvir Singh Ranawat, a soldier of vast experience in counter-terrorism operations, and his latest capture is of Baba of the Al Tahir terrorist group. The movie begins with a ra-ra patriotic song, before launching into full scale war. But the plot thickens when Baba's men plot to rescue Baba, and in the process bring disgrace to India. Not if supercop ACP Jai (Abhishek Bachchan) can help it, in his no-nonsense style of high octane action. Adding to the mix is Bipasha Basu's Nandini, wife of Jai, serving as an air stewardess, and as the complimentary love token who provides the cause for some songs, you'll more or less figure out what the terrorist plot will involve.

The action might look a little cartoony and staged, but it still brings about some element of fun for action fans. Having the two male leads from different uniformed groups also serve to highlight the difference in tactics employed, and eyebrows will surely be raised if you're an advocate of human rights. Torturing during interrogation is nothing new, and to see the way they do it, you'll be pretty surprised, though my personal opinion is that sometimes these tactics would have to work - no point fighting with one hand tied behind your back, and these guys are hiding behind civilians and going after innocent soft targets anyway.

And besides pointing fingers at Pakistan on state sponsored terrorism, the movie also points its fingers and pokes fun at the inept Indian politicians who have a total lack of integrity, and are the worst kind of humans around - selfish, full of hot airs and empty promises, and dumb. Also, it points out on the terrorists' hijacking of religion to further their cause in the name of "jihad", and such scenes are usually dramatic for effect, and at times infused with an action scene, like the fist battle between Ranvir and Baba, representing a country and the subversive elements it faces.

All in all, it plays for entertainment, while pounding its fist in the air with patriotism swelling. And hey, Abhishek Bachchan did attempt to sing a few lines from that Krabhi Krabhi song I last heard in Yasmin Ahmad's Gubra.

Code 9 DVD by Rainbow Films comes in anamorphic widescreen, but the visual transfer is mediocre, seemed to have been done from an old VHS-quality like source. The audio though is clear, presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. There are only English subtitles available, and scene selection comes in 19 chapters. There are no other extras except for a section where you can zoom into each of the 4 songs in the movie - Title Song, Tere Sang, O Mitwa and Pyar Tera Dilli Ki.

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