New York (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Kabir Khan|
|Produced by||Aditya Chopra|
|Screenplay by||Sandeep Srivastava|
|Story by||Aditya Chopra|
|Narrated by||John Abraham|
|Edited by||Rameshwar S Bhagat|
|Yash Raj Films|
|Distributed by||Yash Raj Films|
|Running time||153 minutes|
|Budget||45 crore (US$7.5 million)|
|Box office||61.75 crore (US$10 million)|
New York is a 2009 Bollywood thriller film directed by Kabir Khan, produced by Aditya Chopra under Yash Raj Films, and screenplay by Sandeep Srivastava. Visual effects are by Visual Computing Labs, Tata Elxsi Ltd. It stars John Abraham, Katrina Kaif, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Irrfan Khan. New York begins in 1999, ends in 2008, and tells the story of three students studying at the fictional New York State University whose lives are changed by 9/11 and its aftermath.
New York begins in the United States in 2008, with the arrest by the FBI of Omar Aijaz (Neil Nitin Mukesh) after guns were found in the trunk of a taxi cab he owned. Omar, a young Muslim man originally from Delhi, is then taken into custody and interrogated by FBI Agent Roshan (Irrfan Khan) (also a Muslim man originally from South Asia who has been living in the United States for twenty years). Omar then discovers that he was set up by the FBI in order to force him to spy on a former college friend, Samir Shaikh (John Abraham), whom he hasn't seen in seven years and who the FBI believes is a terrorist. In the process, Omar discovers that Sam has married Maya (Katrina Kaif) (whom Omar had a crush on in university and another friend) and finds out that Samir and Maya have a young son, Danyal (Aidan Wagner).
Roshan orders Omar to tell him everything he knows about Samir. The film then flashes back to September 1999, when Omar begins his studies at (the fictional) New York State University. He is befriended by his international student counselor Maya and learns that though she was born and raised in New York, she is fluent in Hindi because of her mother's interest in Bollywood films. Omar also meets Sam, another Indian American who is also Muslim and fluent in Hindi due to the fact that his father is a professor of Indian studies. Over the next two years, all three become inseparable friends and gradually Omar falls in love with Maya. When Omar realises that she loves Sam, however, he distances himself from them both. Their carefree days finally end with the onset of 9/11.
After finishing his story, Omar agrees to help Roshan (rather reluctantly), if only to prove that both he and Sam are innocent. He reunites with Maya and Sam and stays in their house, all the while spying for the FBI. Omar learns that Maya is a civil rights activist who is helping one of Sam's employees, Zilgai (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) overcome his experience as a former 9/11 detainee. Zilgai was eventually released due to lack of evidence and has been having difficulty adjusting back to "normal" life.
As time progresses, Omar feels satisfied that he can find nothing to warrant the FBI's suspicions and is ready to leave when a series of events forces him to reconsider. In the process, Omar learns from Sam that ten days after 9/11, Sam was arrested and detained for a period of nine months as a suspected terrorist, a charge which everyone, including the FBI and Roshan, now agree was incorrect. Though he was eventually released due to lack of evidence, the impact of being detained and tortured permanently changed Sam in ways which are difficult for those surrounding him to understand, leaving him with feelings of deep resentment towards the FBI. Omar thus finds that Sam ultimately resorted to plans for terrorism as a means of revenge.
In addition, Maya is unable to help Zilgai resolve the trauma of being a detainee. After a routine traffic stop escalates and an NYPD police officer gives Maya a very rough full-body search, Zilgai becomes agitated. He drops Maya at her home and eventually kills the police officer the same night. After being declared a fugitive, Zilgai leads the police on a long chase ultimately ending in his suicide.
The climax of the film rests upon the attempts of Maya, Omar, and Roshan to prevent Sam from committing an act of terrorism by telling him that if he perpetuates towards terrorism, others will suffer as he has. Finally convinced, Sam surrenders and aborts his attempt to bomb the FBI building. However, the moment he drops his cell-phone (which was originally intended as a detonator for the bomb) he is shot and killed by FBI snipers. The cell phone falls benign to the ground without activating anything. Maya, who was running toward Sam, is also killed by stray gunfire and Omar, bereft of speech, breaks down. Six months later, he is later comforted by Roshan who explains to him that; everybody was right in their place, but the timing was wrong. As for Sam, the path he chose killed him. Everybody has moved on after 9/11, as its high time. Omar has adopted Danyal, and Roshan has received commendation for aiding in the anti-terrorism cause. They reconcile each other. The film ends with all three of them going out for pasta and a side note describing the after effects of 9/11.
- John Abraham as Samir Shaikh
- Katrina Kaif as Maya Shaikh
- Neil Nitin Mukesh as Omar Aijaz
- Irrfan Khan as Roshan
- Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Zilgai
- Aidan Wagner as Danyal
New York explores the aftermath of 9/11. In a June 2009 interview with the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), director Kabir Khan argued that the film "is based on part of the political canvas of 9/11, but it speaks of prejudices after the great human tragedy. It is a definite and very relevant subject about post-9/11 prejudices that have increased after the attacks [...] We have in fact divided time in a pre- and post-9/11 world in the film to highlight its obvious repercussions in times to come. The repercussions of the attacks are still very strongly felt globally and will continue to do so." Khan continued to state that the film had the full support of the New York Film Commission, " as it is not an anti-something film. It is a very balanced story and not a jingoistic film." In a separate interview with IANS, actor John Abraham argued that, "in its own strange way, New York begins where Khuda Ke Liye ended. That’s the interesting part of the film [...] Each director has his own way of interpreting and researching the plight of legal detainees." Abraham continued by suggesting that this is why Khan and Shoaib Mansoor offer different interpretations of these events in their respective films.The plot of this movie is similar to the season 1 and episode 21 of TV series lost. New York was the first Indian film which focused on this theme, later followed by Karan Johar's My Name is Khan, starring Shahrukh Khan and Kajol, Kurbaan, starring Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor and Vishwaroopam, starring Kamal Hassan and Andrea Jeremiah.
Production began in September 2008 and filming lasted over a period of 100 days. Most of the shoot took place in New York although some of the scenes which took place in New York were actually shot in Philadelphia. New York is the first Hindi film to have a production schedule there. In preparation for his role as an American Muslim of Indian origin, Abraham studied the Quran (he had likewise studied Sanskrit and learned to play the flute for his role in Water). Khan had to submit his script for approval from U.S. authorities before making the film. He stated: "We had to submit the script to seek permission to shoot in Guantanamo as well as in the States and we got their green signal to go ahead very easily. The film may be about 9/11 and what happens post it, but they did not object to our theme and did not even raise any questions. The US officials were very cooperative and we shot for around three days at this high-profile prison."
According to NASDAQ, New York grossed a record Rs 350 million during its first three days in India, with theatres at their highest occupancy since January at 80–85%. During its first week, it ranked number one in the box office in India and grossed Rs 618.9 million worldwide, and was declared a hit. Its total gross in India after a 6-week run was Rs 155,480,643.
New York's opening weekend was highly successful in India and the Middle East. It also proved popular in Australia and did well in the UK and U.S. Of its opening in India, Khan commented: "I always believed that New York will be a word of mouth film which would open on a decent note and then show an increase in business with every passing day. When I was told by friends and people from industry that it had opened to a houseful response in the very first show at so many places across the country, even I was taken aback."  It is the sixth highest grossing film of 2009. It grossed Rs. 577,500,000.
New York was well received by a number of critics. Subhash K. Jha gave New York a rave review arguing that New York "is what cinema in contemporary times should be, must be, though it seldom is" and designates it "an important film" which "cares about the prejudices that have taken over the world. Jha also states that, "stereotypical portrayals of the cultural diaspora are fortunately rare in this piece of contemporary art which has plenty of heart, a heart that never overflows in an embarrassing torrent of emotions." Devansh Patel, film critic for London's Hounslow Chronicle, gave New York five out of five stars stating that it is, "the most thought provoking movie Yash Raj Films has ever come up with." Nikhat Kazmi of the Times of India gave it four out of four stars, describing New York as, "an extremely taut and highly emotive piece of political drama [...] topical, meaningful, and entertaining, all at the same time." Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave it four out of five stars arguing that New York is "one of the finest films produced by this premier production house, Yash Raj [...] the screenplay is its biggest star, without a doubt. Given the fact that New York isn't one of those routine masala fares, Kabir has injected songs only when required. Cinematography is striking." Joginder Tuteja of the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) calls the film "a must watch" and gave it four out of four stars. He states: "When a hardcore commercial flick gets a standing ovation and a huge round of applause at the end of the show, you know that there is something definitely right that the director has done. In this regard, Kabir Khan can take a bow because he has done exceedingly well in making a film that is not frivolous, has a message and still carries enough commercial ingredients to reach out to masses as well as classes."  Mayank Shekhar of the Hindustan Times argues that comparing New York "to Mark Pellington’s Arlington Road would be grossly unfair. If anything, this is a much better movie than that 1999, part-spooky conspiracy theory. The central theme itself is closer to Shoaib Mansoor’s Khuda Kay Liye (2007), and you can sense how the superior execution here makes all the filmmaking difference." Additionally, Shekhar describes New York in NDTV as, "an A-list film that gets a straight A." Sandhya Iyer of the Sakaal Times gave the film three and a half out of four stars arguing that "New York manages to be gripping, thanks to an excellent screenplay. Most importantly, the story has the right mix of realism and drama – one that Kabir Khan unfolds with quiet confidence." Mathures Paul of The Statesman states: "Finally, here’s a film that entertains and makes viewers think." 
New York received mixed reviews from other critics. Rachel Saltz of The New York Times states: "While Mr. Khan’s depictions of American life occasionally seem silly and the plot has some crater-size holes, New York is continually fascinating. It benefits from the performance of Irrfan Khan, who adds layers of complexity to his character."  Lisa Tsering of the Hollywood Reporter argues that "although the film is a routine thriller with few surprises, it deserves attention because its topic, even eight years after Sept. 11, is one that many South Asian Americans still take very seriously." John Anderson of Variety suggests that New York has "a certain amount of silliness early on" but is "a courageous movie in many ways, and a surprising one."Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gave the film two out of five stars and states: "New York has its heart in the right place and its intentions are entirely honorable [...] but because the film is constructed from such a sloppy script, that point is lost under all the creative liberties and convenient short-cuts that the screenplay takes."
New York is rated 35/100 on Metacritic, citing generally unfavorable reviews.
High profile screenings
New York was the opening film for the 33rd Cairo International Film Festival, 10 November 2009. The film's director, Kabir Khan, was in attendance and addressed the audience at the end of its screening. New York was also screened at the Pusan International Film Festival in October 2009. Yash Chopra of New York's Yash Raj Films won the Asian Filmmaker of the Year award.
|Soundtrack album by Pritam|
|Released||June 10, 2009|
Released on 10 June 2009, the soundtrack for New York has composed by Pritam, Julius Packiam and Pankaj Awasthi. Lyrics are penned by Sandeep Shrivastava and Junaid Wasi.
|2.||"Mere Sang"||Sunidhi Chauhan||06:28|
|3.||"Tune Jo Na Kahan"||Mohit Chauhan||05:09|
|4.||"Aye Saaye Mere"||Pankaj Awasthi||05:45|
|5.||"Hai Junoon – Remix"||KK, Monali Thakur||06:08|
|6.||"Mere Sang – Remix"||Sunidhi Chauhan||05:55|
|7.||"Sam's Theme"||Caralisa Monteiro||04:04|
|8.||"New York Theme"||Instrumental||03:09|
The DVD for New York was released on 8 August 2009. Joginder Tuteja of Bollywood Hungama gave the DVD four out of five stars. The DVD includes (but is not limited to) 2.5 hours of special features such as: "Making of the Film," "Deleted Scenes," "New York Special – Zoom TV," "The New Yorkers – CNN-IBN," and a number of music videos.
- Tata Elxsi creates visual effects for Yash Raj’s latest offering ‘New York’ (Press Release)
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