Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O21_(film)
Me called Atrium Cinema booking. Me wanted two tickets for Operation 021, for me and her. Me was told only tickets available were on Saturday at 10 am! Because they city sleeps at that hour, mostly. Me got the booking. Me overslept like the rest of city, me and her missed the flick by two hours. Me went to the cinema last night and bought tickets from the counter and hence the review.
The Plot. Operation 021 was a much awaited and anticipated movie, given the success of Waar which made records at the box office about a year back. The movie is made in the backdrop of US invasion of Afghanistan, a ticker in the beginning describes Afghanistan having Lithium deposits to the tune of 1.3 trillion dollars besides other precious metals and deposits, making it the Saudia of this region.
The Cast. Shaan, Aamina Sheikh, Iman Ali, Ayoob Khoso, Hameed Sheikh, Joe Towne, Wendy Haines, Summer Nicks and Fardeen Khan.
The Review: Abdullah played by Ayoob Khoso is a precious stones dealer turned renegade who ambushes a convoy of trucks coming in to Afghanistan. He searches and finds a box containing a chip with highly classified info about the main characters supporting the Lithium trade which are a part of a huge conglomerate. He destroys all trucks which are being tracked via satellite by Joe Towne and his Afghan liaison Hameed Sheikh. The two however, are able to download CCTV footage and thus make out Abdullah as the man behind the attack. So starts the mad chase for Abdullah who evades them thanks to an inside informant, who is actually a gora Afghan sympathizer.
Fast forward to Pakistan, Shaan is a alcohol loving ex-Pak Army officer, spy and special forces aka local James Bond, who is now a sleeper being covertly watched by the CIA. As usual he has lost his wife (remember Waar?) but now has a new one who is desperately trying to make her place in his family consisting of two sons. Shaan gets a call on his birthday and has to leave for Afghanistan in an emergency, where he meets Abdullah who gives him the chip with insider info on its contents. Shaan makes it back home with the chip while Abdullah is caught and interrogated, but doesn’t break down.
Meanwhile, CIA is able to find out Shaan as the man with the chip hence the focus shifts to Pakistan. Gillani or Jillani played by Shamoon Abbasi is told to get the chip back from Shaan and also to finish him off. Shaan on the other hand is tipped by a CIA insider who values Shaan as they have previously worked together many years ago. So Shaan plans to move his family to a safe location but is intercepted. A fight/gun fight ensues where Shaan kills all the men who come to his place, make his family a hostage and try to get the chip from him. After killing them Shaan gives the chip to his source, who deftly hands it over to Shamoon Abbassi. Actually which is a ploy used by Shaan to track Shamoon’s movements. He is finally tracked as he is handing over the chip to Joe Towne and killed. Shaan also kills Joe after Joe finds out that the chip is a fake one containing pics of hot women.
Meanwhile, Hameed Sheikh who gets lured in to the CIA great game with promises of immigration to the US (along with his family) and is presently interrogating Ayoob Khoso finds the real chip hidden in a hotel. Khoso pleads him to leave him and questions his loyalties. Finally, Hameed gets to meet the lady who is going to be the whistle blower fo rthis episode and is believed to be a woman who cannot be bought. Hameed’s conscious awakens and he releases Ayoob, while the lady makes the info public.
The Highs. Ayoob Khoso’s acting is simply superb. It needs a standing ovation, or maybe two ovations. The plot is good but takes time to be understood (almost till intermission!) There isn’t much of gun fighting as it was in Waar, but then this a movie which one has to understand in its backdrop which I believe our local audience found a little hard to understand. (Maybe they were looking for Waar type action). Ayoob’s dialogues in darri are simply excellent where he pleads his countrymen not to fall for the gora’s trap. The music is good, and movie has been made on the lines of Hollywood flicks. There’s lots of gadgetry and modern weapons, if that in any way entices you. The movie revolves around three locations, Afghanistan, Karachi and US. Overall I think it’s a good entertainer I wonder why the audiences gave it a wry response.