Verdict: An unimpressive directorial debut for Shagufta Rafique.
Dushman is helmed by a seasoned writer, Shagufta Rafique and presented by Mahesh Bhatt. The noteworthy names attached to Dushman make it a movie to look forward to. Does it manage to make an impact like most of the Bollywood movies Mahesh Bhatt has backed in recent years? Unfortunately, not.
Naren Singh Maan is a young man from Chandigarh. He loses his entire family in a brutal terror attack planned by Pakistani terrorists. Lonely and angst-ridden, he travels to Bangkok on a job as a waiter in a 3-star, where he meets Kareem Usmani, a Pakistani national who is hired in the same hotel as a security officer. Full of hate and anger, Naren is forced to live with his worst enemy who later turns out to be his only friend, philosopher and savior as the story unfolds. Will Naren forgive Kareem for the deeds of those who tread on evil paths? Will he hold on to his hate? Or will he choose the path of mercy and forgiveness is the bedrock on which this tale of love, hate and brotherhood is told.
On paper, Dushman is a very well conceptualized film. The story (by Shagufta Rafiq) of two boys who are from warring countries, have similar backgrounds, meet in a foreign land and are forced to sell drugs. And eventually, they manage to get out of this mess and return to their homeland. It had all the ingredients that take to make a hardcore realistic film. But the problem with Dushman lies in its execution. Shagufta Rafique, impresses as the writer, but Shagufta Rafique the director does not live up to expectations. The initial hour which includes the two protagonists meeting each other and falling prey to the drug mafia of Bangkok, fails to generate any interest among the viewers. The sequences are lame and lousy. The drama that unfolds and the sequences involving them becoming friends from foes, is far from convincing. The length of the film is another sour point of the movie. Had it been edited well and length shortened by at least 15-20 minutes, it would have made a better impact.
Dushman has its heart at the right place. It tries to bring India and Pakistan close and justifies the feelings of common man living across the border. Moreover, to give it due, the conclusion of the story is well written and impressively executed.
Kartar Cheema is a decent actor. He impresses in the sequence where he shares his past and brings out varied emotions. Jashan Singh makes his debut and needs to work in his acting skills. He gives a single expression throughout the movie. He has the right personality but needs to open up a bit. Sakshi Gulati is passable. Gulshan Grover is dependable, as always. Dialogues (by Shagufta Rafique) are well penned. The music (Harry Anand & Jaidev Kumar) of the movie is plain ordinary. Meherma is the best song of the album.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Dushman explains how two boys from India and Pakistan can live together and eventually offer their life for each other’s happiness. It offers a message that there should be no hatred amongst the common man, just because of the violence created by a small group of people.
–By Gurlove Singh