There are two reasons why one can sit through this loud homage to loutishness: Akshay Kumar and Akshay Kumar.
No, he doesn't have a double role. But the impact of his performance as the city-smart Muslim dude is so sharp and right on that he virtually holds together both ends of this doddering, stumbling and finally, crumbling drama.
Terrorism as a film formula is a dangerous trend, more so in these days when the filmmaker never knows who's watching. Some years ago when Mani Rathnam made the richly expressive "Roja", some critics accused him of hard-selling Kashmiri terrorism.
Since then there have been a large number of films on the theme of militancy, from Khalid Mohamed's "Fiza" and Vidhu Vinod Chopra's "Mission Kashmir" to Gulzar's "Maachis" and "Hu-tu-tu". All these were serious explorations of the issue and occupied a critical space in our cinema.
A film like "Insan" turns terrorism a full-blown formula. The Hindu-Mulsim divide which occupies a delicate position in our society is treated with a full-blast aggression of the RDX variety, turning characters from both communities into puppets in the hands of the over-zealous scriptwriter.
In one way or another the film crudely cannibalises the Godhra catastrophe and subsequent events in Gujarat with scant regard for historical accuracy.
The sprawling narrative opens with a Muslim mob attacking a bus carrying Hindu passengers. Before carnage can ensue, Akshay Kumar, playing the liberal neighbourhood dude, intervenes with a swaggering speech about inflammatory impulses.
In a later and even more volatile sequence, he bodily prevents angry cop Ajay Devgan from running with a gun into a praying congregation at a mosque.
When a cop calls him a "gaddaar" and asks him to go live in the "other country", Akshay hits back: "This IS my country! Why should we leave? We belong here as much anyone else."
To Akshay Kumar's credit, he carries off the flamboyant fits of rabble-rousing rhetoric with as much casual conviction as the comic compartments in the commodious plot, where he tries to woo the loud Henna (Esha Deol) under her brassy mother, Archana Puran Singh's nose.
Fans of 1960s potboilers would recall the comic subplots where Mehmood wooed Aruna Irani right under her vigilant father (Dhoomal/Sunder/Agha)'s nose.
Akshay occupies a sporting ego-free space in the film. In one hilarious interlude he even allows Ajay Devgan to beat him up in front of scores of bystanders.
Having done the comic thing, he turns into "Brother India" at the end and guns down his terrorist sibling - Rahul Dev. Nice cry.
Oops, we're jumping the gun! Loads happen before the Godhra-inspired train-on-fire climax (shot clumsily at the railway set in Kamalistan studios).
While Akshay and Ajay do the grin and the scowl in separate stories, Tusshar Kapoor and his love interest (newcomer Laila) do the "Exploited Strugglers In Bollywood" bit. The girl even gets into a producer's bedroom before she's rescued.
Ironically star-son Tusshar makes a passionate speech deriding inept star children who win golden opportunities at the cost of the deserving outsiders.
The real-life "deserving outsider" Akshay Kumar is in his element. Wish the same could be said about Devgan who tries to make a macho statement through the frown. In all honesty, it is a dishonest and lazy performance.
Poor Lara Dutta gets a raw deal for the second time this week after "Elaan". She deserves a lot better, as do the other not-untalented members of the cast including Rahul Dev, whose terrorist act has been done to slamming death, many times by Rahul Dev himself.
Debutant director K. Subhash's sensibilities hark back to the Manmohan Desai-Anil Sharma school of filmmaking where characters don't have a life of their own. They are all put up there to create a drama originating from the haves and the havocs.