Shoot On Sight

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Venue: Bollywood and Beyond Film Festival, Stuttgart.

STUTTGART, Germany -- Veteran Jag Mundhra’s thriller has been inspired by the July 2005 London transport bombings. Its largely taut script takes us head-on to the current debate that equates Islam with terror. Given its racy feel, its theatrical prospects seem bright, though it may not play well with arthouse fans.

Tariq Ali (Naseeruddin Shah) is a top Muslim police officer in London’s Scotland Yard with a British Christian wife, Susan (Greta Scacchi); a rebellious daughter, Zara (India Wadsworth); and a soccer addict son, Imran (Arrun Harker). Ali’s troubles begin when as the officer investigating the shooting of a suspected Muslim terrorist in an underground train station, he evokes the jealousy of his colleagues. They send a photograph of Ali shaking hands with a venom-spewing Imam, Junaid (Om Puri), to the tabloids. Ali’s problems worsen with the arrival from Pakistan of his nephew, Zaheer (Mikaal Zulfiqar), and the film’s nail-biting finish pushes the officer to make a tragic choice.

Excellent performances by Shah, Puri and Scacchi make the movie a delight to watch. Carl Austin’s script invokes the voice of moderate Islam through Ali and his friend, Yunus (Gulshan Grover). A fine balance between hatred and extremism, preached by Junaid, and liberalism and love is achieved with the humane, rational aspects of Islam coming on top. Madhu Ambat’s camera diligently captures the emotional trauma of the lead characters in a series of close-ups as they live through suspense and agony in Ali’s professional career.

Production companies: Cine Boutique Entertainment and Aron Govil Productions
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Greta Scacchi, Gulshan Grover, India Wadsworth, Arrun Harker and Mikaal Zulifqar. Director: Jag Mundhra Screenwriter: Carl Austin Executive producer: Vandana Govil. Producer: Aron Govil Director of photography: Madhu Ambat Music: John Altman. Costume designer: Sarah Tapscott. Production designer: Roger Harris. Editors: Jag Mundhra, Sanjeev Mirajkar. International Sales Agent: American World Pictures.
No rating, 110 minutes.

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