Just had to get in a quick work about the topical, terror-in-our-cities film Shoot on Sight, starring Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Brian Cox and Greta Scacchi.
Naseer is his usual good self and completely sympathetic as the suave, unflappable Tariq Ali, high-ranking man (and Muslim) on the British police force. In a not-to-subtle political manoeuver, his seniors give him the job to head an investigation of the shooting of an innocent man (also a South Asian Muslim) on a platform of the London underground.
Not even Naseer can save this film.
While his acting is assured and low-key, his accent flows all over the place. When making a speech at a news conference, he sounds like he’s channeling Amitabh Bachchan, then we get snippets of a half-hearted Cockney accent throughout (lots of Ts dropped off the end of words), and then there’s a dollop of British Midlands thrown in. Oy vey.
The whole movie has a rather deflated feel to it, and comes off like a low-budget TV movie-of-the-week. Its puzzling that every time when Naseer’s Toyota sedan pulls up at his home it looks as shiny as for a car commercial, but Brian Cox’s dye job looks as cheap as the worst you’ve ever seen on a self-conscious uncle uneasy about the snow on his roof.
One fellow member of the Fourth Estate at the screening last week burst out loud laughing along with me when a young British reporter on screen, having just received some rather scandalous photos from a disgruntled cop, exclaimed loudly “Hold the presses!” Sheesh.
One pleasant surprise for me was Gulshan Grover as the religious and moderate Muslim butcher. Like his role as the distraught Sikh in Deepa Mehta’s Earth, he seems to thrive in these serious supporting parts, away from the over-the-top filmi villains he’s played in so many Hindi movies. Shabash, GG. Very nicely done.
See it or skip it
Skip it. Or wait ’til it’s on DVD, if you must.