Shoot On Sight - 2008


The world is divided. And the colour of the skin as also your religious beliefs have created the great divide. Jag Mundhra's SHOOT ON SIGHT looks at the war waged by the fundamentalists against the 'oppressors'.

Set in U.K., SHOOT ON SIGHT narrates the story of an honest Muslim cop's nephew turning into a terrorist. There's a parallel story running along side, that of an innocent Muslim getting guned down by cops since they suspect he's a terrorist.

Jag has a penchant for realistic/life-like stories [KAMLA, BAWANDAR, PROVOKED]. In SHOOT ON SIGHT, he handles the layers in the subject with utmost maturity. In fact, Jag's execution of the subject as also the performances by the principal cast makes it a compelling experience.

The film has been inspired by the suicide bombings in London of July 7, 2005. The film unfolds the turmoil in the life of Tariq Ali [Naseeruddin Shah], a Muslim police officer at Scotland Yard. Commander Ali, born in Lahore and married to an English woman, is given the task to investigate the police shooting of a suspected Muslim terrorist in the London Underground.

Distrusted by both his superiors and his fellow Muslims, he finds his inquiry hampered from all sides. When evidence surfaces pointing to the slain man's innocence, as well as the existence of a terrorist cell operating in his own backyard, Tariq must face the realisation that sometimes, the right decision is the hardest one to make.

SHOOT ON SIGHT is yet another take on terrorism. What gives SHOOT ON SIGHT an edge is the fact that the terrorist happens to be an honest cop's nephew. He lives under the same roof and carries out his nefarious plans.

Note the sequence when Meqaal arrives in London and learns that his maami, an English woman, still practices her religion. Note the tense moments between Naseer, Gulshan Grover and Om Puri. Also, Om's provocative speech about atrocities being committed on Muslims worldwide. Even the culmination to the story is interesting.

Naseer is, as always, efficient. Om Puri is convincing too. Gulshan Grover is first-rate. Meqaal Zulfiqar does well. Greta Scacchi is natural. Laila Rouass is perfect.

On the whole, SHOOT ON SIGHT is a sincere attempt that should appeal more to those who tilt towards serious cinema. At the box-office, however, the lack of awareness would restrict its prospects.

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