Much before Ranbir Kapoor starrer Wake Up Sid, there was the Farhan Akhtar directorial Lakshya. Bollywood doesn’t do coming-of-age tales well, however, on the off chance, it has managed to hit it out of the park. The aforementioned movies are examples in case. 2004 film Lakshya saw Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan at his earnest best, which therefore helped him deliver one of his finest performances on screen.
Of course, the biggest winner of Lakshya is its well-written screenplay (Javed Akhtar) and the wonderful direction and editing (Anand Subaya).
The film’s plotline revolves around the story of a man in his early twenties called Karan Sheirgill who is as aimless and carefree as The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caufield. However, things take a turn when he decides to enlist in the army.
A gentle but firm mix of romance, drama and patriotism — Lakshya does its job credibly, in turn giving us a wholesome story of a man-child who finally transforms into the person he had always looked for subconsciously. The performances of the supporting cast — which includes names like Amitabh Bachchan, Om Puri, Sushant Singh, Preity Zinta and Boman Irani among others — also helps the film’s case greatly.
Lakshya has quite a few memorable scenes. One of my favourite is the one where Hrithik’s Karan repeatedly gets punished for not being disciplined and focused. In one act, Hrithik is asked by the commanding officer to demonstrate a certain military position, which he fails at miserably. While his comrades shout energetically and succeed at the assigned task, Karan utters a weak and barely audible clarion call. The sequence is delivered perfectly by Hrithik, who chooses not to make a big dramatic moment out of it, thereby evoking laughter from the audience.
The movie not only does comedy ably, but also gives us heartwarming moments that we don’t see frequently in Indian movies.
A touching moment in the film occurs when Karan calls his father (played by the versatile Boman Irani) when the former is stationed at the front. Father and sons don’t often express their feelings to each other, and this is true of not only Indian society, but of world at large as well. However, it was delightful to see a genuine interaction take place between the characters of Boman and Hrithik.
Bottomline — Lakshya might not be one of the best that Indian cinema has produced, but it is certainly one of the few that nails what it sets out to do — entertain and engage its viewers till the very last second of the reel.