Vikas Sagar (Zayed Khan) would go anywhere for a scoop, risk his life and limb to get an exclusive story that nobody else can. It's for this precise reason Vikas is a familiar face watched by six million viewer's weeknights on Aaj Tak news channel. Ambitious, popular and professional, Vikas is considered one of the most promising journalists in the business.
It's also the reason Owais Hussain (Suniel Shetty), a senior producer at the controversial Istanbul based AL JOHARA, widely criticized as the mouthpiece of terrorists or as their network of choice, makes him an offer to head the channel's proposed Indian bureau for an outrageous salary and other perks. It's an offer he almost can't refuse because of the channel's controversial profile which ensures that it's seen by everyone globally, including the White House. It certainly would take Vikas's career to another level not only does he become the highest paid journalist in India but also puts him on an international platform. But there is one condition that the head hunters from AL JOHARA insist he must join ASAP and then fly to Istanbul for a three month orientation programme.
Their offer couldn't have come at a better time for Vikas, who's undergoing a painful divorce with wife Anjali (Shreya Saran), an equally feisty journalist whose desire to have a baby leads to their separation because her husband wants her to wait a little longer and seems to be in no mood to start a family. While Al Johara dangles the temptation of kickstarting their India operations, Vikas accepts the offer largely to mend his broken heart.
But little does Vikas know that his life is about to change when he takes the flight to Istanbul on a three month orientation program at the channel's headquarters. While Al Johara is one of the most viewed channels in the world, it's reputation has been largely built as the mouthpiece of a dreaded terrorist. Abu Nazir, who is on the most wanted lists of both the Interpol and FBI, is vociferous in his threat to wage war against several countries, including India. A threat he usually delivers via a videotape to Al Johara.
On the flight Vikas finds himself seated next to a stunningly beautiful copassenger who hates flying. Lisa Lobo (Shweta Bhardwaj) is headed for Istanbul to attend a medical convention or so she claims. In her obvious discomfort, she turns to an amused Vikas for moral support and distraction from the reality of being airborne. It's a budding friendship that's grounded the moment the flight lands and Lisa disappears at the airport.
Once in Istanbul, Vikas's initial impression of AL JOHARA is in sharp contrast to its notorious reputation. Especially when he meets the charismatic Ghazni (Niketan Dheer), who has business interests all over the world but whose obsession these days is AL JOHARA as an instrument to shape world events. There is only one word of caution to Vikas and that's never ever to venture onto the 13th floor known as the Catacomb.
As part of his orientation, Vikas gets handson experience in the AL JOHARA newsroom where he watches ghastly and exclusive news reports of terrorism. He learns more about Abu Nazir, who is described as "a oneman organization whose existence revolves around a single person." Vikas is told that it is extremely difficult to find out any details about his private life and his habits because such information would help the secret services who are looking for him. "Abu Nazir is cautious to the point of paranoia."
Reeling under the impact of the reality bytes at work, Vikas's only relief is his flirtatious encounters with Lisa and the lively company of soldier-turned journalist Owais Hussain who is looking forward to quitting his job and settling down with his Irish girlfriend.
But on an assignment to cover kidnapped journalists in one of Abu Nazir's terrorist camps in Afghanistan, Vikas is shocked when Abu Nazir's brother, Khalil (Shabbir Ahluwalia), brutally executes Owais Hussain just before a UN peacekeeping force mounts a rescue operation.
Reeling at this close encounter with terrorism and watching a brutal killing, Vikas returns to Istanbul in a daze and is approached by a former Turkish commando, Rizwan Khan (Vivek Oberoi), who hints that no senior employee has ever quit AL JOHARA and rattles off a list of AL JOHARA employees who had been killed in terrorist attacks within days of there being of rumours of their plans to quit or their resumes circulating in the job market! Vikas is quickly reminded of Owais Husain expressing the same to him. The stranger poses a few more questions about AL JOHARA like why Abu Nazir speaks only to AL JOHARA and leaves quietly.
Vikas discreetly runs a check on the names rattled off by Rizwan and discovers he was indeed telling the truth. Five AL JOHARA staffers before Owais Husain had either died in a car bomb explosion, abducted and killed or simply found dead. It sends a chill through Vikas's spine. He slowly notices that not everything is as simple as they look in the offices of AL JOHARA, especially when he seems to bump into strangers whose faces he soon recognizes as suicide bombers in a couple of terrorist attacks. The deeper Vikas digs into AL JOHARA's history and operations, the more questions crop up in his mind. And then he makes the cardinal mistake of straying onto the 13th floor.
Soon Vikas realizes that all is not what it seems and that he can't trust anyone not even Lisa! As he is tortured for straying onto the 13th floor, double crossed by Lisa and watches wife Anjali narrowly surviving a suicide bomb attack in Srinagar, Vikas has no choice but to ally with Rizwan after he makes a shocking revelation that Abu Nazir is dead but being kept alive by AL JOHARA through videotapes by using digital images of the terrorist and doctoring old footage.
Thereafter Vikas Sagar finds himself creating news rather than reporting it as he steals the secrets locked away on Al Johara's 13th floor, incurs Ghazni's wrath and becomes a man on the run wanted by Turkish cops, terrorists, the CIA and Lisa Lobo!
From wielding a mike before a television camera, he is forced to wield a gun and join Rizwan in a bloody mission against international terrorism.
- Zayed Khan ...... Vikas Sagar
- Vivek Oberoi ...... Rizwan Khan
- Shriya Saran ...... Anjali
- Shabbir Ahluwalia ...... Khalil
- Nikitin Dheer ...... Ghazni
- Shweta Bharadwaj ..... Lisa Lobo
- Sunil Shetty ...... Owais Hussain
- Abhishek Bachchan in a special appearance
- For the climactic battle in Apoorva Lakhia's Mission Istanbul, the reed-thin Zayed Khan put on 11 kg and weighed 75 kg for the first time in his life. All because he had to take on the movie's bad man Niketan Dheer, who was 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 86 kg.
- Vivek Oberoi grew his hair for his role as a Turkish commando in the film and even worked out to flex some muscles and he is also working on his 6 pack-abs for the film.
- Jammu and Kashmir politician Omar Abdullah appears in the film as himself.
- Brent Mendenhall, alook-alike of U.S President George W. Bush appears in the film as Bush.
- Khalil Ahmed, an exact replica of Osama Bin Laden is there in the film too.
- The organisation Al Johara in the movie is comparable to the law firm in John Grisham's novel, The Firm (novel).
- The organisation Al Johara in the movie and its alleged role as being a mouthpiece for terrorists i.e. having tapes delivered to the news organisation by terrorists bears a striking resemblance to Al Jazeera and the fact that it too was criticised by some White House officials as being an outlet for terrorists. In this respect the movie helps to re-inforce the "Western" World's take on the War on Terror.
- This is releasing on the same day as Bollywood film Money Hai Toh Honey Hai on July 25.
After the success of 2007 film Shootout at Lokhandwala it was expected that Mission Istanbul would be a hit. However, the opening of this film got only 35%-45% bookings.
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