New York Review – Wait for DVD; America Seen Through Muslim Eyes

Yash Raj’s New York Suffers 9/11-like Collapse; in ICU

New York – A Box Office Dud

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.

Visually Boring
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.

Katrinaesque Disaster
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!

Few Mercies
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.

Soporific Music
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.

Related Stories:
Yash Raj’s New York Suffers 9/11-like Collapse; in ICU
New York – A Box Office Dud
End of the Road for Yash Raj Films?

21 Responses to "New York Review – Wait for DVD; America Seen Through Muslim Eyes"

  1. kenan   June 26, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    seems like some Indian reviewers think New York is “must watch”. Responds:

    Sure, there will always be some Indian reviewers who consider even Kuruvi, Villu and even Dostana as must-watch movies.

    The closest most India reviewers have come to America is on a map and hence possess little idea of day-to-day life here, pre-9/11 or post-9/11. They probably think the life of Muslims here is one of unalloyed misery.

  2. gnair91   June 26, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Have you seen Khuda Ke Liye? its a pakistani movie,similar theme.

    ps- terminators released in india!!! Responds:

    1. No, haven’t seen Khuda Ke Liye. Don’t think it had a wide release in the U.S.

    It’s easier to see Bollywood movies here because the big ones release in so many theaters including mainstream American movie houses like AMC and Regal besides of course the crappy Indian theaters like Anil Ambani’s Movie City.

    2. How did you find Terminator Salvation?

  3. gnair91   June 27, 2009 at 1:04 am

    havent seen it yet.Im going tommorow.Will let you know.

  4. guruprasad.s   June 27, 2009 at 3:34 am

    You can trust folks like Aditya Chopra and Kabir Khan to take up a theme like 9/11 and aftermath, and make a complete mess of it. These bozos think that just because they shot the movie in NY, made John Abrm go nude, had some hot bedroom scenes of John and Kat, and included an actor like Irfan Khan, people will flock to see the movie.
    Frankly, I was a bit tired of the pre-release hype.
    Folks like John and Kat need to grow up bigtime.
    You dont need to look good at all, to act well.
    Ask Nana Patekar and Om Puri.

    By the way, Raja Sen of Rediff has called the movie a sham, and I am inclined to agree even without watching the movie.

    John fella says that NY takes off from where Khuda Ke Liye ended. What nonsense.
    Khuda Ke liye was a rather fine movie.
    NY (from the reviews) is neither here nor there. Responds:

    1. You write: These bozos think that just because they shot the movie in NY, made John Abrm go nude, had some hot bedroom scenes of John and Kat,…

    We heard from other people (sometime after watching the movie) that much was made in India of those ‘nude scenes.’ Believe us, it’s all much ado over nothing.

    As we said of John Abraham above, lots of biceps but not lots of talent.

    2. You write: You dont need to look good at all, to act well. Ask Nana Patekar and Om Puri.

    And Rajpal Yadav and Pasupathy (Tamil) and the late Kalpana (Kannada).

    3. You write: Khuda Ke liye was a rather fine movie.

    Just discovered that Netflix has Khuda Kay Liye. Added it to our queue and moved it the top, which means we should be seeing it soon.

  5. kennedy   June 27, 2009 at 6:34 am

    After all khuda ke liye has Naseeruddin Shah in a riveting cameo.

    Plus that movie addresses fanaticism of Islam very boldly. But that movie also depicts alleged atrocities on muslim(s) after 9/11.

    A nice sufi score as well.Nice movie…far better than New york. Responds:

    We’ll try to see Khuda Ke Liye on Monday or Tuesday.

  6. StrYngLad74   June 27, 2009 at 9:15 am

    SI Said: “We heard from other people (sometime after watching the movie) that much was made in India of those ‘nude scenes.’ Believe us, it’s all much ado over nothing.”

    I still believe the nude thingie will be the crowd-puller for the horny masses. They will line up to see Katrina’s T&A and probably end up being disappointed. Those who do, will make sure they have company and send a few more to their “doom.”

    That said, I just realized that the movie “X Men Origins- Wolverine” was somewhat of a hit (despite being a shitty movie) primarily due to large hordes of horny women (never mind the fan boys) eager to catch a glimpse of Hugh Jackman’s naked behind (they did get their money’s worth). I guess the phenomenon is not exactly Indian after all :D. Responds:

    You write: I still believe the nude thingie will be the crowd-puller for the horny masses

    We thought the Internet cafes in India were a relief-den for the hoi polloi, at least for those who know how to move their hand around a mouse.

    What about the mouse-illiterates, you say? Well, everyone’s an autodidact when it comes to the hand. 😉

  7. StrYngLad74   June 27, 2009 at 9:49 am

    SI Said: “Well, everyone’s an autodidact when it comes to the hand.”

    There was a crude saying among us Dilli-wallas back in our school days

    “Apna haath, Jagannath” (thy hand is thy lord) 😀 Responds:


  8. raghu   June 27, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    resembles ‘Rendition’.

    Rendition has got nice confrontation scenes and very good casting. Responds:

    If we remember right, even Rendition didn’t do that well.

  9. a4apple   June 28, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Happy to see that SI noted the camera work as mediocre, true. I will blame Kabir Khan also.

    Not every one is a Sergio Leone. His Once Upon A Time in America, a classic uses extreme close-ups. (Don’t get mislead by the nudity of Jennifer Connelly, since she was only 14 at the time and a body double was used). Quentin Tarantino was highly influenced by this style of extreme close-ups that he called them Sergio Leone shots. However, Tarantino improvised this shot by focusing on the face of listener than on the face of the speaker (opening coffee shop sequence in Reservoir Dogs famous for the ‘tips’ conversation). In NY the whole Irfan & Neil sequence is done like this but the effect is zero. Blame Neil for that and blame Kabir in the first place.

    I am not going to forgive me for watching this movie, when I would have ‘re-watched’ V for Vendetta. Responds:

    1. Initial reports from India speak of a favorable box office response for New York. Let’s see if it can be sustained.

    2. Must watch Reservoir Dogs (incidentally, Quentin Tarantino’s directorial debut, according to Netflix).

  10. gnair91   June 28, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Saw terminator salvation.I LOVED IT!!! say what you will, but it was AWESOME! especially when *SPOILER ALERT* arnold stomps in.Its waaaaay better then terminator 3, as good as t2.Maybe you guys are not as into terminator as i am.

    Oh boy, if theres a sequel , theres a gowtham. Responds:

    We were not the only ones to find Terminator Salvation less-than-thrilling.

  11. gnair91   June 28, 2009 at 11:43 am

    yeah i know.Lot of people find that without arnold, the franchise is pretty much pointless

  12. raghu   June 28, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    watched Transformers.

    very good. should be seen at imax.
    no story, but whoz asking story, while aliens are at our planet

    Is Michael Bay a hit director ?
    I checked in imdb, all his previous movies grossed marginally Responds:

    You write: I checked in imdb, all his previous movies grossed marginally


    Michael Bay’s Bad Boys was a big hit. Source: Wiki

    Bad Boys was so successful that it spawned a sequel Bad Boys II, which was also successful.

    Yes, we’ve seen both movies.

  13. guruprasad.s   June 28, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Micheal Bay also directed a movie called The Rock, which was quite entertaining, with Sean Connery and and Nicholas Cage in lead roles. You can watch it for Connery alone.
    It is about saving the hostages trapped in Alcatraz.

    Our own Harry Baweja, (father of Hurman Baweja and producer of Love Story 2050), ripped it off and made a movie called Qayamat, mostly with a bunch of non-actors. Responds:

    Just realized that we’ve seen Rock.

    Not a bad movie. Remember Sean Connery ‘getting vaporized’ at the end? 😉 (To those who haven’t seen this movie, don’t worry, we’re not giving anything away.)

    We’ve also seen Sean Connery lately in The Untouchables (1987).

  14. SRINIVAS   June 29, 2009 at 5:07 am

    decent movie … far as the theme is concerned …it’s the other perspective and many such documentaries have come out on these themes …..what he has shown in the movie is reality ….such incidents have taken place ……

    What he did not show much was the other side …that’s Muslim’s engaging in terrorism very convincingly ….

    But that’s what secularism is all about ….SI also has a similiar bent of mind … Responds:

    1. You write: what he has shown in the movie is reality ….such incidents have taken place ……

    We haven’t heard of any Americans being arrested/detained in the U.S., tortured, pissed on, abused et al. Maybe in Vizag or Ghatkopar, where encounters of Indians are not unheard of.

    2. You write: But that’s what secularism is all about ….SI also has a similiar bent of mind …

    If you are suggesting we’re pro-Muslim, we are not pro-any religion.

  15. Malika S   June 29, 2009 at 10:40 am

    The movie was just ok. I didn’t like the subject of the film.

    Now maybe Pakistanis should make a movie about innocent muslim/pakistanis in India who were picked up randomly and tortured after the Mumbai Massacre by bunch of terrorists. Responds:

    You write: Now maybe Pakistanis should make a movie about innocent muslim/pakistanis in India who were picked up randomly and tortured after the Mumbai Massacre by bunch of terrorists.

    Now, wouldn’t that be interesting. Given the resounding popularity of Bollywood films in Pakistan, we wonder if Pakistan has a strong and capable film industry.

    We’re getting Khuda Kay Liye tomorrow from Netflix but don’t know whether the movie is a foreign production or an indigenous film with Pakistani actors and technicians.

  16. shadowfax_arbit   June 30, 2009 at 6:34 am

    Like how Slumdog portrayed the dark side of India, this one portrays the dark side of America.

    First half was decent, second half boring. No logic in the need for that undercover operation, and why would everyone cry when they see twin tower blast in TV. I thought people will only be shocked. And Katrina was sobbing big time. That was funny.

    And are the facts shown at the end of the movie true? You have mentioned that Guant-something bay yourself. What about the rest? Responds:

    1. You write: this one portrays the dark side of America

    We doubt the FBI is pissing on and torturing detainees in America (there may, of course, be some stray loony FBI agents here and there).

    Manmohan Singh’s daughter Amrit Singh’s principal job in NYC is to find out if American security personnel are pissing on or torturing Americans/non-Americans/minorities in America. So far, our darling Amrit Singh has been quiet on the subject. So we’ve got to assume that such things are not happening inside our borders.

    Seriously, if there’s such a dark side here, why are so many Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt and other Muslim nations so keen on coming here.

    Some 4,392 Egyptians won the Green Card Lottery (Diversity Visa Lottery 2008 (DV-2008) Results), 5,983 won from Bangladesh, 1,435 from Iran…. Presumably, most of these Green Card Lottery winners were Muslims. Remember, the winners are a tiny fraction of those who apply.

    Source: U.S.State Department.

    So your argument on the dark side in America is wrong. If there existed such a dark side in our country, tens of thousands of Muslims would not be desperate to come to our shores every year.

    When we want to torture some non-American, we pass them over to the CIA who then pack them off to their torture partners in Muslim countries, Muslim countries like Egypt or Syria. This is officially known as the Rendition program. 😉

    2. We can’t speak with certainty about the exact numbers put up at the end of the movie…they were probably taken from the ACLU or some human rights agency web site.

    After 9/11, people behaving ‘suspiciously’ were questioned/detained/rounded up. Most likely, the Americans/Green Card holders among them were released and the illegal immigrants deported quietly.

    We were among the 1,200 mentioned at the end of the movie who were detained/questioned and no, we are most certainly not suffering from any trauma or problems with the head now because of the incident. Au contraire, we like to cause head problems to others. 😉 Here are the details:

    A few years back (post 9/11), we had purchased a new Sony digital camera and were itching to take some nice pictures. So off we went to Washington DC and snapped pictures of the U.S. Capitol building from various angles. After taking the pictures, we pulled out of the parking lot and merged into one of the main roads in DC. After about three or four minutes of driving, we heard lights flashing from an unmarked car behind us. So we pulled over. Soon another car with Washington DC police joined the unmarked car and stopped. A plainclothes detective from the unmarked car came over to our car and sought to know why we were taking so many pictures, asked for our license and registration info and checked it against some central database. The plainclothes detective came back in five minutes, told us to Have a nice day and both cars vanished.

    Of course, if it were India there’d be a lathi up your canal, demand for bribes and and God knows what else.

    In the movie New York, Sam was a Muslim, found taking extensive pictures of WTC before 9/11, not originally from the U.S. – so there were grounds to detain him and question him. That’s not the dark side but legitimate action. But the rest (as depicted in the movie) is rubbish.

    3. Lastly, our dictionary in America has a different meaning for Encounter, not the same meaning found in Indian lexicons. 😉

  17. shadowfax_arbit   July 2, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Thanks for quoting your personal experience. I’m totally surprised at the level of security there. Responds:

    There’s a lot of security stuff going on here, that’s most likely still undisclosed.

    If the the New York Times had disclosed the monitoring of telephone calls within the U.S. before the 2004 presidential elections, it’s possible that George W. Bush might have lost to John Kerry.

  18. kenan   July 4, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    half-rubbish review.

    Wasn’t Zilgai a christian, btw? Responds:

    Aren’t there any good fireworks display in your city?

    Colorful lights and loud sounds have been proven to keep children quiet.

  19. indianart   July 15, 2009 at 7:03 am

    I havent seen this movie ….but sumtimes i read reviews of bollywood movies from this very popular site b4 i watch them. Its quite popular amongst the bollywood fraternity…and sumtimes i think they r very biased when writing if theyve been paid by the producers to give a good review…especially to movies of powerful production houses like YASHRAJ , DHARMA etc..

    Here is the review of NEW YORK on the site :

    NEW YORK is a triumph for Kabir Khan, who deserves distinction marks for handling the subject with remarkable maturity. Also, this film should be a turning point for John, Katrina and Neil. More on that later…

    The verdict? NEW YORK is, without doubt, one of the finest films produced by this premier production house, Yash Raj. Grab a ticket today!

    Omar [Neil Nitin Mukesh] has gone abroad for the first time in his life …. At the box office, there’s no stopping this one. Go for it now!

    Stars : 4/5

    Now i was waiting eagerly to watch this movie after this review…. and then i read your review. Responds:

    Every reviewer has his/her/its own perspective.

    Overall, as the U.S. box office numbers show New York has not found much favor with the audience.

  20. indianart   July 15, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Malika S on June 29th, 2009 at 10:40 am

    The movie was just ok. I didn’t like the subject of the film.

    Now maybe Pakistanis should make a movie about innocent muslim/pakistanis in India who were picked up randomly and tortured after the Mumbai Massacre by bunch of terrorists.

    But only pakistanis wud watch it…and there wud be more Mumbai like attacks.

  21. lisa456   November 25, 2009 at 4:39 am

    The story of the urine-soaked hoods is mainly based on testimonies taken from terrorism suspects who have been held in Abu Grabh and Israel, but there are also stories floating around that it happened at Guantanamo. It seems that part of the story takes place there, although they never expressly say in the movie where’s it’s happening. Of course, you only get the side of the detainees in the cases where there haven’t been photographs leaked as proof. In any case there’s no denying the U.S. has let a lot of terrible things happen to people who have been detained for years without formal charges or trial. Responds:

    The story of civilization is mostly one of humans doing bad things to one another in wars, big and small.

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