THE Couple — Saif and Kareena — Who breathe life into Kurbaan.
Just two sentences for the lovely couple in the film: Volatile relationship is gripping and the performances are heart-felt.
Saif’s understated menace is the perfect foil for Kareena’s aching vulnerability. Saif Ali Khan is wonderfully restrained and oozes confidence in his act. He is like a hawk, unpredictable and focused throughout. Saif puts in a solid performance as the brutal yet brooding terrorist. His character remains surprisingly ambiguous, and despite a superb build-up, his track loses steam towards the end. The twist in his tail remains quite unconvincing. And if it is intentional, it does not come across as so. Even then, he manages to impress, and the comfort level with his girlfriend Kareena is evident. Saif’s easy transition from a charming lover to a heartless man on a deadly mission is highly remarkable. Misty-eyed he watches his child’s fetal images and then sticks a dagger into an accomplice’s neck without batting an eyelid. Saif is extra-ordinary in a role that only proves his versatility once again. If he has impresses you with his winning performance in LOVE AAJ KAL, you need to watch this supremely talented actor underplay his part so beautifully in KURBAAN.
After long, Kareena Kapoor gets a role of substance that brings her performing potential to the fore. She is remarkable especially in her emotional outbursts and in one scene she reminds me of Karisma Kapoor from Fiza. Kareena's vulnerability and innocence lies in her eyes. She soars in the climax in a scene where she asks Saif his real name, moments before the film reaches its end. Kareena is very impressive as her character changes from bubbly to bewilder to bloodied, making this one of her best performances in a while. She shines in some of her scenes, especially when she takes on Saif and at the end. Kareena looks svelte in dresses and tights and brings to life a glamorous professor. She morphs effortlessly from a young girl in love to a shattered wife, still in love with her husband. Watch out for that scene when she tends to an injured Saif — she recoils one moment, flinches at his pain the next. KURBAAN reiterates one fact yet again: She's the best in the business. No two opinions on that! Watch her get those emotional sequences right, it's incredible. Here's a performance that truly merits the highest praise and admiration, besides fetching her awards and accolades.
Even Vivek Oberoi, playing Riyaaz, an investigative journalist who infiltrates the sleeper cell, forgets his Mission Istanbul-style posturing and acts. Vivek Oberoi’s character corresponds to Neil Mukesh’s character from New York, as a person who attempts to permeate into the terrorist organization, though their driving forces are different in both films. Vivek Oberoi is fabulous in his part and commands immense screen presence. He acquires the requisite English accent though he could have gone easy on his expressions at times. He was honest and despite the ambiguity of his character, he manages to evoke the right reactions in every scene. Though he gets a few sloppy scenes, he manages to impress with an earnest, convincing performance. In a role shorter in running time than the others, he manages to make an impact and give competition to Saif, bettering him at times. It's a difficult role to portray and only an actor with a wide range could've portrayed this part so effectively. He throws himself into the role and turns in a sincere, spontaneous delivery. As a character, Vivek's is the strongest, and should have taken a front seat in the penultimate moments of the film, which sadly does not happen. He was just fantastic, Matching Saif and Kareena at every step, KURBAAN should be the turning point in Vivek's career.
These trios play well together, but it is Khan who grabs you much more: when he is on, you see the character, not the actor. The lovemaking song between Saif and Kareena is sensually shot; it is employed to corny effect and their passionate encounters are a class in aesthete. The chemistry between Saif and Kareena is sizzling and thankfully not blown out of proportion. Saif and Kareena make for great eye candy as the couple and Saif puts in a seasoned performance, you have come to associate with the actor now. The couple transports their off screen tuning to the big screen. While, their delineation of Ehsan and Avantika is mature, restrained and realistic. From half-a-dozen liplocks to a lovemaking scene which frankly is a lot of bareback action and little else, the Saifeena chemistry scores, but a little more emotional thrust in the post-revelation scenes would have lent more reel spice to this real-life romance. If Saif Ali Khan approaches his part with restraint and minimalist fuss, then Kareena Kapoor goes for a simmering, slow-burning performance that eventually punches you in the gut.
Om Puri is authoritative though his character is almost a replication of what he played in Shoot on Sight. Also he is largely predictable.
For a pleasant change, Kirron Kher plays a character other than the boisterous Bollywood mother. As an Afghani woman with a Pathani accent, she is competent though it now becomes somewhat difficult to relate to her in such characters, which is much in contrast with her typecast screen image. It is refreshing to see Kirron Kher play such an interesting character.
Dia Mirza, Nauheed Cyrusi and Kulbhushan Kharbanda lend credibility to their brief roles.
But the performances, melodious music and snazzy camerawork cannot camouflage Kurbaan’s specious logic and faulty writing. Kurbaan will be and would be forever “A Disappointmet” for the major audiences.
For performances: 4 / 5
For Movie: 2 / 5 (Completely fallen down to the half-rate)