Never-seen-before indeed! 'Shoot at Sight' strides with an enamoring motif with rigid characterizations. Obviously, it's about bomb blasts, violent attacks, racialism, Islamic individuals wedged in troublesome moments and clear-cut terrorism. Probably, you should have watched out these ready-made affairs a million times in Indian films. But the niftiest backdrops where these matters get blended surmounts to our surprisals. Yup! traumatizing incident of July 7 London bombings happened to be a global issue and Jag Mundhra strikes with this trenchant piece of work on celluloid.
Reality really bites, isn't? It's more illustrious with the success of recent flicks based on similar issues topping the chart at box office: 'Mumbai Meri Jaan' and 'A Wednesday'... The very motifs in these films centered about the shocking impacts of bomb blasts in individuals' lives. Of course, 'Shoot at Sight' falls under the same genre and it is sure to touch your feelings.
UK Government doesn't tolerate the serial bomb blasts in London. Straightaway it orders Scotland Yard Department to bump off anybody, if they are suspected to be terrorists. Regrettably, An English Cop (Ralph Marber) triggers out bullets on an innocent Muslim bystander. A Pakistani by origin, senior officer Tariq Ali (Naseeruddin Shah) born and brought in England, married to a British woman (Greta Scacchi) is assigned to investigate this case on Marber. Investigating this case doesn't seem to be a big deal, but as Ali sees Marber as racist, he is victimized by media channels and his senior officers for being a Muslim.
Drenched in such a problematic situation Tariq is unaware that his close friend Junaid (Om Puri), an overzealous Islamic Priest is involved in persuading young souls of his community and one among them is Ali's nephew Zaheer (Mikaal Zulfikar).
Distrusted by both his superiors and his fellow Muslims, Tariq finds his inquiry hampered from all sides. Eventually, evidence surfaces pointing to the slain man's innocence, as well as the existence of a terrorist cell operating in his own backyard is spotted... Now, it's time for Tariq to face the realization that sometimes, the right decision is the hardest one to make.
Something that strikes your mind is the hard-hitting lines uttered by English Cop during the interrogation, "All Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims". It leaves a great impact from characterization's perspective. On the pars, there goes one more line from Islamic Priest, "Whether he is a Muslim first who happens to be a police officer or a police officer first who happens to be Muslim". Nevertheless, you have got nothing to nail down on justification of both the sides. Moreover, it's just about revealing the blatant flaws and argumentations on both positions. Director Janmohan Mundhra leaps with laurels by just revolving about minority communities venturing through problems. Hats off to him for not blending this fiction with clichéd lines of patriotism: where protagonist has to give tongue for long speeches and transforming the masses.
Well, there are more rigid reasons that keep you singing appraisals for auteur. For many filmmakers, exotic locations of London have been dreamlands for canning entertainment flicks or at the least a song of dream sequence. But getting to spot the same place with different dimension is something fresh in flavor. You never notice, establishing shots of beautiful locations at any extents and it's a practical London here.
'Marvelous', 'Wordless' and what else? Put the best words of appreciation for Naseeruddin Shah. So naturalistic in his performance, he looks apt with his gestures, enunciating dialogues with perfect accent, Naseeruddin excels with finesse. Not too far behind is Om Puri. Watch out for his mannerisms and again unique style of articulations, he simply scintillates. Gulshan Grover has been established with well-brought-up character, but gets lost somewhere in the mid and auteur should have bit worked on this. Ralph Ineson's knavish kind of character has been precisely depicted. Greta Scacchi, Laila Rouass and Mikaal Zulfikar deserve good credits for their decent performance.
What makes the film so unique in its narration is that it just focuses straight into the issue. Director Mundra doesn't seem to have strained himself on unwanted surprises and it's really good to see a film under genre of Drama-Thriller (not many filmmakers of Bollywood opt for it). Indeed, certain aspects in the screenplay, especially the climax sequence are easily predictable.
But the astounding performance by entire star-casts and perfect direction keeps you adhered to screens, arresting your senses.
On the whole, 'Shoot at Sight' is a flick that shouldn't missed. A grand round of applause for entire team...
Verdict: Spellbinding film to watch