Mother India lives! And never mind if she's converted into "Brother India" and played by Sunny Deol instead of Nargis - may God rest her soul and the audience, if they survive the ordeal of watching the antiquated mafia romance.
Sunny is the protective doting Bade Bhaiyya (big brother) who turns his smoking gun on "Flaring Nostril" (read: kid bother) when FN, a.k.a Karan covets Bindiya who's actually Karan's Bade Bhaiyya Arjun (Karan...Arjun.... geddit?)'s little sister.
Incestuous? Oh no! Karan is the gangster-in-chief Arjun's adopted kid-brother. And so what if Bindiya and Karan grew up in the same house, and probably shared nappies in childhood?
In the dark and ever-flaring world of gangsters, everything is made possible by the conventions of crime.
Flare is the key. So off goes li'l Bindiya to college where her heart beats only for the dimpled dude Saahil (John Abrham). Saahil looks like a hunk but is a poet at heart. He sings mooney Rahman ballads for Bindiya during off-hours, which essentially means ALL hours.
If in the trendy college campuses of Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra the students romance rock 'n' roll, in Lakeer they use it as wrestler's ring: jump into the college grounds and go...wham-bam-slam.... Crushed bones and bloodied faces are the canteen specialities.
Then there's a basketball court where the students pretend they're characters in "Bend It Like Beckham". Bam bam!
And then of course, there's the ham. Oh, lots of it! Everyone from "Flaring Nostrils" to "Glaring Eyes" (Sunny Deol) looks daggers-drawn. Sometimes the daggers change into guns. But what difference does it make? At the end of the day all dead bodies look the same.
And some of the actors in choreographer Ahmed Khan's directorial debut look distinctly dead. Not their fault. The script is dismayingly stale... and stupendously symmetrical.
If Karan has a Bade Bhaiyya ready to kill for his li'l kid-brother, then Saahil has streetwise Sanju(Suniel Shetty) who talks in that biddu ...bole to language which Munnabhai made into a fashion statement.
In "Lakeer" every character and scene is a bash them statement. If one or the other character isn't venting his rudderless spleen on screen then it's the background score screeching wailing and otherwise, simply getting a restless crowd of men to roar across the soundtrack in a shrill show of masculine solidarity.
Oh, didn't I tell you? This is another film about male bonding. Hence Bindiya who's loved madly crazily and uncontrollably by two campus macho-men Karan and Sahil hardly gets a tender moment with them since both the boys-Flaring Nostril and Crinkled Eyes-keep clutching their respective big brothers so close to their heart you fear for their palpitations.
One or the other he-man Big Brother is constantly baying for blood. Whose? Did you ask? It all depends on star availability. Since there are clutches of them to be put into various permutations, director Khan simply shoots with whoever is available...and leaves the rest to the gods of all scrawl things.
Regrettably the scriptwriter goes back to every mafia movie you've seen from Scarface to Vaastav to Gang without bothering to put a fresh spin into the genre. Speaking of spins. The choreography in a film directed by a choreographer is shockingly poor.
Mafioso concepts of family honour, impartial retribution and yes, respect for women (not a single frame is rude to the leading lady) seem hopelessly out of step with the cinema being made today.
Unlike that other choreographer-turned-director Farah Khan's Main Hoon Na, Ahmed Khan takes all the clich?s of formulistic cinema dead seriously. There isn't a single humorous moment of homage to the spirit of masala cinema in the mawkish way that the two sets of brothers bond with one another.
No, instead of a chuckle in our funny bone we're meant to get a lump in our throat at the purportedly grave goings-on. A pretty hard thing to do since the film rapidly moves from dead serious to just plain dead.
The cadaverous post-intermission half is so aimless you wonder if Khan was practising aim-and-shoot with the camera. The last half-hour where Sohail Khan does a "Darr/Baazigar" on the petrified Nauheed Cyrusi is so out of tune with the rest of the plot that we know Ahmed Khan lost track halfway through and just decided to be the dude trying to do a mouth-to-mouth with the dead script.
The cinematographer is made to take crazy top shots of sleek cars and self-important gangsters stepping into lobbies of 5-star hotels as though they had just won the elections.
By the time Sunny Deol comes to his "Brother India" speech about honour valour and loyalty, we know he's just kidding along. "Lakeer" is gone way...way out of line.