Lanka (2011) Hindi Film Review - Who is the savior, Vibhishan or Ram?


Films that have been made with the state of Uttar Pradesh as its backdrop has always done well at the box office; Omkara and Sehar to name a few and now it’s the latest one, Lanka. I wonder why the film was titled that way. Yes, there is a mention of Raavan in the film and thus the place ‘Bijnor’ is Lanka. Before the film was released there was lot of speculations as to which part of Ramayan would be narrated here. Raavan is definitely the hero (read villain) and who is the real hero? Is it Ram or Vibhishan? 

No matter how bad we think Raavan to be, he was a very learned man and played the veena. So, how can anyone who loves music, be a criminal? Lot of theories have been written about the fact that he kidnapped someone’s wife and he was also physically attracted towards Sita but nowhere it is written that he physically abused her.  In the film Lanka, our modern day Raavan Jaswant Sisodia (Manoj Bajpai) is the so called don of Bijnor (UP) and has a young lady doctor Anju (Tia Bajpai) as his mistress, physically abusing her every night. No one can protest as he is the ‘Bhaisaab.’ The girl’s father is helpless as the police are also sold to Jaswant. The film moves on and the hero (the good guy, could be Ram or Vibhishan) enters, Arjan Bajwa; the adopted brother of Jaswant Sisodia. Once again, I need to clarify a small thing to people who said that the hero could be Vibhishan. Well, no, he is just another person who isn’t as monstrous as Bhaisaab.

Lanka (Hindi, 2011) Film Trailer

I am a little surprised that I cannot recollect the screen name of Arjan Bajwa, or maybe his name was never said. He, the good guy is the right hand of Bhaisaab and can do anything for me. Even then one day he realizes the torture that was going on the innocent girl and his heart and mind changes. The rest is the story that can be best enjoyed in the theatres.

Arjan Bajwa does not have much dialogue in the film. He doesn’t yell but he does fight, strongly.  He looks a little too polished for the role of a goon and I remember him as the polite boyfriend of Priyanka Chopra in fashion. The guy has a long way to go provided he gets good break from good directors and does not get typecast. Anju, the heroine aka Tia Bajpai is a known face in the television world and should never venture out to be the leading lady in a commercial potboiler. Expressions are very similar to all kind of feelings.

Starting from rustic Bhiku Mhatre in Satya to the suave Maharaja Vijayendra Singh in Zubeida, from Preity Zinta’s menacing Pakistani fiancé in Veer Zaara, Veerendra Pratap in Rajneeti to Mithilesh Singh in Aarakshan, Manoj Bajpai has done it all, smoothly and excellently. There wasn’t any change in Lanka too but his talent could have been used in a far better way. 

Lanka is a film of Manoj Bajpai with a little romantic tale attached to it, that of Anju and Arjan Bajwa. Thankfully, the love story did not become ‘the’ story and the main storyline of a simple girl being imprisoned in the land of Raavan stays in its track.

Overall, it’s an ok film and could have been done better.

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