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Lanka  : Stretched saga
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Friday, December 9, 2011
Maqbool Khan
Manoj Bajpayee, Tia Bajpai, Arjan Bajwa
Lanka Movie Stills
A damsel in distress is kept in captivity by the tyrant of a small town to satiate his physical pleasures. The parallel to Raavan is loud and clear and there’s loyal Vibhishan too, to rescue this Sita.

The plot:  In a village called Bijnor, Anju (Tia Bajpai) finds herself hopelessly imprisoned by despot Jaswant Sisodiya (Manoj Bajpayee) and his bunch of crude goons.

The inconsiderate treatment of a woman as a mere physical object goes on, until a nameless, good-hearted guy (Arjan Bajwa), enters the scene. A complete Sisodiya loyalist, he does most of the despot’s dirty work until he falls for his own master’s love interest, or rather lust interest. Now it’s time for him to choose between humanity and loyalty.

The good: The movie does well to expose the evils that still exist in small towns, especially the rampant chauvinism and contempt for women.

Lanka has an appealing simplicity and Manoj Bajpayee comes up with a great performance as he fits the role of the ruthless, sensual, unprincipled Sisodiya like a glove. His portrayal’s authenticity is enhanced by his attention to detail, like the village accent and mannerisms.

The bad: The music of the film by Toshi Shabri and Sharib Shabri is superficial and soul-less. Barely linked to the plot, it’s merely yawn-inducing, slows the pace of the film and makes it boring.

The story by Shashank Dabral is predictable, offering no surprises and nothing at all to grip the viewer.

Manoj Bajpayee’s decision not to marry Anju and to keep her as his mistress instead, is unconvincing and belies the love he professes for her.

Also, the character of Anju’s father, played by Yatin Karyekar, who is supposedly a highly qualified chief medical officer but ends his life selfishly, leaving the two women to their own devices, is highly unrealistic and illogical.

The content could have been cut much shorter.

Overall: What sets out as an attempt to expose the sordid practices in small towns and the cruelty of the powerful, ends up as a sad, sluggish saga.
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