Bhai Sahab aka Jaswant Sisodiya (Manoj Bajpayee) is a man in power of the entire Bijnor. He is cruel, shrewd and works his way under any circumstances. The biggest victim of his cruelty is Anju (Tia Bajpai) who he forcibly keeps as a mistress and rapes each night mercilessly. Anju's parents are left with no way out but to deal with the humiliation of being the parents of a mistress. Anju yearns for a knight in shining armour to come and ward off her troubles. Enters Jaswant's so-called brother urf chhotta bhai (Arjan Bajwa) who is a man of different principles. He is Bhai Sahab's most trusted and close aid. Despite considering Jaswant as his mentor, Arjan cannot deal with Bhai Sahab's cruelty towards Anju. He eventually falls in love with her and after endless contemplation decides to retaliate!
The entire film basically revolves around the saying "Ghar Ka Bhedi Lanka Dhae". Based on the epic clash between Vibhishan and Raavan where the former denouncing the morally corrupt ways of Raavan retaliates against it, Lanka clearly sticks to its storyline. It depicts the story of a clash between two closely bonded brothers when love takes over lust. However, it's the execution or the trite approach of the situation that makes for a boring watch.
Filmmaker Maqbool Khan takes his own sweet time to develop the plot and shows no innovation in its execution at all. In fact, in a bid to make his film appear intense and gripping, Maqbool infuses an endless dark, grim and dull mood. Each and every character is intensely grim at times for no reason at all making you wonder if they ever knew how to laugh.
There seem no justifications for many things and even the characters aren't established tactfully. Anju, who is a learned and practicing doctor finds it exceptionally hard to devise any plan for an escape. There are mentions of the fact that nobody in Bijnor can escape from the clutches of Bhai Sahab but not a single attempt by Anju is shown. Moreover, the sorrow of being raped each night doesn't quite show up on her face as she appears all dolled up each morning with perfect straight hair, overtly chapped and painted lipstick etc. Bhai Sahab's tyranny is just stated at a superficial level with only a single point display of his cruelty on the Anju. Arjan's character also lacks depth.
The screenplay is extremely dragged and the background music is haunting and doesn't quite blend well with the film. Even the music is slow and remorseful giving you a funeral like feel. Excessive unnecessary close shots are taken throwing all the unwanted people on your face.
Maximum footage and attention is given to Manoj who yet again delivers a crackling performance. It appears like a tailor made role for him and he presents an exceptional blend of lust, obsession and shrewdness. Maqbool extracts great performance from Manoj and he remains the biggest USP of the film. Arjan Bajwa could've been given more dialogues and a better character-sketch however, he does a brilliant job even at that. Tia should've focused more on her acting than painting her lips right throughout.
Over all, Lanka doesn't work for its story but for the performances, especially that of Manoj Bajpayee.
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