Director: Apoorva Lakhia
Shootout At Lokhandwala’s tagline is a contradiction—"true rumours"—a clear indication of how facile a film it is. It shows no engagement with the politics of encounter killing, which is its core idea, but glorifies violence and machismo. Based on the real-life shootout of Dawood’s men by the Bombay police’s Anti-Terrorist Squad in 1991, the film doesn’t know what position to take on the contentious issue. It makes heroes out of underworld goons as well as trigger-happy cops, and makes both the stud parties walk glamorously in slo-mo towards the camera. In the process, the film itself becomes a mere display board for bodies, blood and bullets. It begins by calling the police "gangsters in uniform", humanises the goons as though they were merely misguided college dropouts, but in the end tilts towards the police, quoting silly statistics to justify encounter killings ("the crime rate dropped by 70 per cent in Bombay after the incident") rather than reading between the facts and figures.
In this scheme of things, women occupy the predictable periphery—the protective mother, the understanding bar-dancer girlfriend, the complaining wife and a conscientious TV journalist who seems to epitomise today’s world of media overkill than representing the Gulf War-era, pre-satellite TV, media-parched India.