Shoot on Sight – just shoot me


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.

One thought on “Shoot on Sight – just shoot me


    Besides the “Broadcast TV Movie of the Week” feel, there were a couple of other things I wasn’t too thrilled about in this movie.

    First, it is heavily influenced by the 1997 movie “The Devil’s Own“. High ranking big city police officer welcomes friendly charming nephew from the motherland into his home; nephew turns out to be a terrorist preparing for a mission; nephew is part of group his uncle is investigation; after becoming suspicious, uncle finds evidence by snooping in nephew’s room when nephew is away; uncle finds nephew at last minute just before it is too late; uncle is forced to kill own nephew.

    Second, and this may be because I’m Brazilian, I think they diluted the seriousness of the situation a bit by making the victim of the initial case being investigated an Islamic man, rather than a random Brazilian as it was the case in real life. By that I mean, the police in London wasn’t just targeting Islamic people, but all brown people. Jean Charles de Menezes didn’t look anything like the man the police was supposed to be following, Osman Hussain. But he was brown, and lived in the same building, and that was enough for them to follow and eventually kill him. They were labeling a far greater percentage of the population as possible terrorists than the movie makes it to be.

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