Kurbaan

Kurbaan is a love story combined with a thriller. It is an Indian film but there’s a good mix of English as well as Hindi spoken. You see, what begins as a whirlwind love story in Delhi, India, transforms itself into a conspiracy/terrorist thriller set in New York. Yes, New York.

We’ve seen a similar film called Fanaa, which I reviewed here, only that one was set entirely in India. That was a 2006 release and this one is a 2009 Release which opened in both India and the USA on November 20th, 2009.

Kurbaan was directed by Renzil D’Silva and this was his first effort as a director. The Producer is Karan Johar, and he is nearly royalty in the world of Hindi cinema. He’s produced, directed, written, and acted in films and has been nominated in various categories for awards for film excellence in India 11 times.

The story begins with the gorgeous Kareena Kapoor as Professor Avantika Ahuja hassling over a cab with a man. This man turns out to be one Ehsaan Khan and is played by Saif Ali Khan. With no surprise to anyone, Ehsaan turns out to be a newly hired professor/lecturer at the same college where Professor Avantika is employed.

Though she repels his advances initially, he wears her down with his persistence. After what is supposed to be just a single date for coffee, a whirlwind courtship begins. Of course some of this is shot with many of Delhi’s most picturesque settings as backgrounds. Quite breathtaking, of course, but I expected no less of a filmed courtship.

There’s one problem. Avantika is Hindu, and Ehsaan is a Muslim. When he asks her father for her hand in marriage, the father protests to a degree, saying he had hoped for his daughter to marry a Hindu. Smoothly, Ehsaan reassures him that he is not losing his daughter to the Islamic faith – instead he is simply gaining a son.

So they plan to marry and all is well. Avantika receives a request from a NY based college asking her to return as a professor. She had taught there before but returned to India when her father suffered a stroke. Surprisingly, Ehsaan is all for it, and is more than willing to accompany her, and relocate to New York.

So they begin their married life in a New York apartment, and soon they’re buying a house in the suburbs, in what is supposed to be an Indian neighborhood.

And that’s when things begin to go wrong. A wife living across the street is terrified. She has been beaten by her husband. “All is not as it appears,” she says ominously. She is terrified.

Days later, a flight leaving from New York, is blown up during takeoff. Avantika is suspicious having not seen that frightened woman since she had spoken with her a few days ago. So suspicious, that she begins to snoop around.

As we all know, in the movies, when the female lead begins snooping around, it  will always and only make things worse. In this case much worse.

That’s about the first hour of this 2 hours 40 minutes thriller. You won’t be shocked when I tell you that Ehsaan and Avantika have taken up residence right in the heart of the terrorists community. You won’t be shocked when I tell you that Ehsaan is one of them.

But that’s all I’ll tell you – and I havne’t given away much of anything. After all, right on the DVD cover, there is a tagline that says, Some Love Stories Have Blood On Them.


Kareena is lovely to look at and does a good to very good job of portraying the damsel in distress. Saif Ali Khan did a better job of wooing Kareena as Avantika than what he gives us as a the terrorist du jour.

I’m not going to comment on the rights or wrongs of the terrorists specific to this film, or terrorism in general. Suffice to say, that this will never be accurately portrayed in the film industry. However watching this film in the safety of my home, I really don’t need or want any thing but entertainment.

As always, a beautiful heroine in peril can capture your emotions, and tug at your heart. Kareena does just that, and despite the often illogical actions that we see onscreen, we do root for her.

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