Made by a Muslim director Kabir Khan, New York is post 9-11 America as seen through angry, vengeful Muslim eyes.
Consider the 9/11 facts.
After a bunch of Muslim terrorists living in America ram airplanes through the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and try (and fail) to ram another into the Capitol building in Washington DC, kill several thousand innocent Americans and cause economic damage running into tens of billions of dollars, America did what any country in its right mind would do at that time – it arrested/detained some Muslims of Middle Eastern origin living in America (exact number is debatable) who had been detected engaging in suspicious activities. And in the process of extracting information from them to prevent another horrific attack on the homeland some of these Muslims were most likely roughed up.
These (above) are the undisputable facts.
But the big picture you get from Yash Raj Films’ New York is one of America’s FBI randomly picking up Muslims at train stations and cabs across America, stripping them, pissing on their faces and heads, torturing them, making them wear dog leashes and harassing them endlessly.
That is fiction, a bad yarn penned by a malicious idiot going by the name of Aditya Chopra.
You say this is a movie and so it’s fine to play fast and easy with the facts.
Really? Try making a Bollywood movie on the massacre, endless harassment and horrific rape of Muslims in Kashmir (which is not fiction by the way).
Aside from the fact that New York the movie never provides a proper context of what justifiably led America to engage in some unsavory practices (the full extent of which we may never know) and plays havoc with the facts, the movie is not a edge of the seat thriller but au contraire a lengthy, predictable Bollywood production with mediocre photography, below par routine by Katrina Kaif, below average music and OK performances by Neil Nitin Mukesh and John Abraham, and entrenching Irrfan Khan as the new Iftekar of Bollywood movies.
From Laaga Chunari to New York
Having delivered a seemingly endless run of trashy, mushy Bollywood films like Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Aaja Nachle, Tashan,Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic, Bachna Ae Haseeno and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, the sagging Yash Raj banner trudges its way across the Atlantic to America and decides to get into an experimentative mood with New York.
But in the hands of this unimaginative, amateur duo (director Kabir Khan and Aditya Chopra, credited for the story) who take the easy way out, the movie never rises above the banal eastern ‘intellectual’ stereotyping of America as a rogue nation, a racist nation, and a trigger-happy nation.
And that derails whatever possibilities the movie could have had with a bold topic like 9/11.
What about the story outline, you ask?
It’s the same dreary, heard-that-before, heard-that-before account of a Muslim youngster caught in the American security dragnet, tortured, released and the embittered fella then plotting horrific revenge.
But the terror plot itself never comes to life because so much time is wasted on frivolous nonsense.
And not once is the plot-leader convincing, not even when he tries to be ruthless with one of his crew.
For a movie on terrorism, the final scene could have been marvellous.
But then this is a movie with too many could’ve beens.
Instead, the ending turns into a boring, slapdash affair as if director Kabir Khan was in a rush not to miss the Friday prayer at the mosque.
Having lived long years in the shadow of Philadelphia and New York City, it’s hard to believe these two cities can be presented in as visually unimpressive and boring a manner as in New York.
Like the Katrina storm that lay waste to New Orleans, the Bollywood namesake is a complete waste of a star. Put all the lip stick you want on a pig but it does not a Cinderella become. Ditto with this British import Katrina. From the opening scene at the university to two key confrontations with Neil Nitin Mukesh to the crucial scene in the FBI office and finally on the terrace at the end, this utterly worthless actress is an embarrassment.
Somebody in India, please revoke Katrina’s visa on the grounds of mass cruelty and deport this bimbette back to the UK!
After a few million Bollywood movies, John Abraham is still having some difficulty with this acting thing.
Lots of biceps but not lots of talent. The only saving grace was that compared to his utter non-performance in Dostana John Abraham was OK in New York.
Neil Nitin Mukesh, who we first encountered in Johnny Gaddar, is adequate but doesn’t set the screen afire.
Tis’ a pity that we’re seeing a talented actor like Irrfan Khan in similar roles these days – a police inspector in Slumdog Millionaire and an FBI agent in New York. The new Iftekar, eh?
By the way, Nawazzudin, who plays the character of Zilgai, another innocent Muslim caught up in the 9/11 aftermath, was a delight to watch.
If music is indeed a crucial pillar of Bollywood movies, then New York is a dud given its eminently forgetable, lifeless music.
Skip this Movie
All in all, New York is a movie that’s not worth paying $8.50 (matinee) or $10.50 (regular show).
Wait for the DVD, folks.