The 9/11 episode has inspired many filmmakers. It’s about three friends, Sameer (John), Maya (Katrina) and Omar (Neil) living in America. They become friends in New York State University and have a ball until 9/11. The terrorist attack casts a shadow not only on America and the world, but on their friendship too.
Islamic terrorists brought down the World Trade Centre and America wrought havoc on its own Constitution which promised justice and equality for all. So how does the post 9/11 world regain its sanity?
By the good Muslims sifting out the bad Muslims and bringing back all those who have gone astray in the name of religion and by America realising it can’t bomb, bully and torture entire nations and people on the basis of their racial identity. Kudos to Kabir Khan for tackling the most complex — and sensitive — problem of today’s world with disarming simplicity, without being insensitive to anybody.
In fact, he even tries to understand why some Muslims turned terrorists after the American backlash that dumped almost 1200 innocent people in prolonged detention and divested them of all human rights, simply on the basis of their names and religious identity.
Music is average but two songs stand out Junoon and Mere Sang. Among the performances, Katrina Kaif is surprisingly good. She handles the part well. The director has her in tight close-ups in major emotional scenes, and she doesn’t disappoint.
When times are bad, both people and nations make bad decisions, says FBI officer, Irrfan Khan.
New York is an extremely taut and highly emotive piece of political drama which begins with a bang. Indian immigrant Omar (Neil Nitin Mukesh) is arrested by the FBI and grilled for his terrorist links by officer Irrfan Khan. Pleading his innocence, he is forced to flashback to his college days and his friendship with Sameer (John Abraham), the campus hero and Maya (Katrina Kaif), the campus hottie who stole his heart but loved Sameer.
Omar falls in love in Maya but when he learns that she loves Sameer, he moves away from their world. Only to return seven years later, at the insistence of FBI officer Roshan (Irrfan Khan), who suspects that Sameer is the head of a sleeper cell that is planning an attack in the US.
Omar is arrested on false charges and is forced to help the FBI. He only agrees to act as their spy to prove that Sameer is not a terrorist. But Omar soon realises he is out of depth.
The breezy campus days give way to a more turbulent present when Omar is sent back into Sameer and Maya’s life as an undercover agent for the FBI. His brief is to expose Sameer’s terrorists activities and help the FBI to abort his dangerous mission. Omar’s loyalty to his friend however remains unflinching through out his treacherous game and his only desire is to extricate his buddies from the messed up post 9/11 world. Does he succeed?
Since the fun and games of the first half build up to a gripping climax which sees Katrina pitching in the best performance of her entire career, while John showcases a side of him that lives beyond the muscle and brawn. But the show stopper of the film is Neil who creates such a winsome character in Omar, torn between his conflicting loyalties — to friendship and sanity — and the pain of an unreciprocated love for `katto’ Katrina.
Neil Nitin Mukesh is in form once again after Johnny Gaddar.
Strangely, Neil has a bigger and better role than John. John’s jail sequences are brilliant. First anger, then helplessness then surrendering to his fate. Irrran Khan repeats his cop act once again but no complaints on his performance.
And how can we forget Irrfan, ever dependable and forever watchable, with a special ability to add that extra something to any and every role. Absolutely delightful, with his distaste for pasta!
While the whole world felt those tremors of the Twin Towers collapsing, the film comes a bit too late after the tragedy to really make an impact.
Also, the most crucial part of the film the victimisation of Sameer is passed off in a few scenes, which doesn’t really justify his actions later. There are too many loopholes in the film.