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The film revolves around its three lead protagonists.

Written by Shubhra Gupta
December 9, 2011 9:07:45 pm

Director: Maqbool Khan

Cast: Manoj Bajpayee,Arjan Bajwa,Tia Bajpai,Yashpal Sharma

Indian Express Rating:*1/2

In small town Bijnore,there lives an all-powerful Raavan whose word is law,turning the local law into an ass,and cops into stooges. Jaswant Sisodia (Bajpayee) has only two weaknesses,a young girl (Tia),the ‘bechari Sita’ in this Lanka,whom he is obsessive about,and a ‘moonh-bola-bhai’ (Bajwa).

The film revolves around its three lead protagonists— the sahib,the not-quite-bibi,and the not-quite-gangster,in tight concentric circles,to the point of exhaustion. It branches off only once in a while,but not too far : to a rogue cop (Sharma) who challenges Sisodia’s might,to a farmer who fancies himself a landgrabber. But it comes homing in to the not-quite ménage a trois,and it all becomes too much,despite Bajpayee filling in the role to the brim,and Bajwa trying to break out of his pretty boy image with his semi-rustic turn. The weak link is the girl who doesn’t summon up either the stunning good looks or the simmering sensuality required to keep a man so deeply hooked. And the overbearing soundtrack doesn’t help.

Khan had directed a film a few years ago which has stayed tragically unreleased: ‘Kabootar’ was a terrific study of the kind of violence that engulfs the directionless in small town India. It had such an authentic voice and vibe that it has stayed with me. The atmospherics in Lanka remind me of that earlier film,and it has given Bajpayee a chance to go full throttle,but ‘Lanka’ comes off as too much to do about not much at all.

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