Phantom, is a spy thriller, that is based on Hussain Zaidi’s book Mumbai Avengers. Picking up from the post-26/11 scenario, where the Indian Government’s diplomatic policy wasn’t in favour of retribution for the brutal attacks on Mumbai, the film narrates a fictionalised story of how a former army officer is sent off on a ghost mission to kill the prime masterminds of the attack.
STORY: A Phantom-like vigilante is surreptitiously chosen by RAW officers to bring the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks to book.
REVIEW: A shamed army officer, Daniyal Khan (Saif) is living a life of anonymity. Court-martialed because evidence points out that he was not with his team when the enemy attacked, he yearns to earn his stripes back. As it so happens, there is a covert intelligence group, who is seething that the Centre has not been able to avenge the 26/11 Mumbai carnage.
They know permissions from official quarters will not come. So, they just take it upon themselves to launch a `punish-those-terrorists’ movement. After all, like one young officer (Zeeshan Ayub) says, 10 audacious guys from across the border did bring Mumbai to her knees on that fateful night in 2008, killing 166 people.
So Daniyal is despatched across continents to find the fanatic four who plotted 26/11. They even whisper to him that, he can `accidentally’ kill .
Based on the book, Mumbai Avengers by Hussain Zaidi, Kabir Khan, fresh from the super-success of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, doesn’t extend a hand of friendship to our neighbouring country in this one. Instead, he is clear that if they house the Laskhar-e-Taiba or allow militants like Haris Saeed (the cinema-counterpart of Hafiz Saeed) then the blood-thirsty Indian will take revenge.
To add glamour, Daniyal is accompanied by Nawaz Mistry (Katrina) who works on special assignments for Indian intelligence from London.
As the prologue says, the Taj Mahal Hotel at Apollo Bunder, blown up that fateful night has a new facade now. But our hearts are still bleeding. Yet, we’re a passive country that lamely does things like refusing to play cricket with Pakistan, rather than go in for a frontal attack.
As cinema, this thriller is over-simplified, though the gloss adds to the large-screen appeal. Saif is adept; Kat is pretty appealing (pun on the pretty because her make-up is intact even in the battlefield). Zeeshan and his jingoism in the climax gives you that proud-India moment. And, if you’re still licking the wounds of that senseless Mumbai massacre, then Phantom is the balm you should reach out for.