Karan Shergill (Hrithik Roshan) is a young man from Delhi who has no goals for his future. His father (Boman Irani) is a businessman and his brother is a successful individual living in the United States. His girlfriend, Romila Dutta (Preity Zinta), also known as Romi, a student activist and reporter who espouses fashionable causes out of well-meaning sincerity, tells him he needs to find a goal in life. When a friend announces he is going to join the Indian Army, Karan applies to the Indian Military Academy (IMA) as well, despite dissent from his parents.
Karan gets selected into the IMA, although his friend backs out. However, he is undisciplined and unused to life there. He keeps receiving punishments from the training team. Upset, he runs away from the academy, which causes Romi to break up with him. Karan finally comes to terms with his situation and makes his decision. He returns to the IMA, takes his punishment, becomes a focused, disciplined officer cadet and eventually commissions into the Indian Army. Karan is posted to the 3rd battalion of the Punjab Regiment, commanded by Col. Sunil Damle (Amitabh Bachchan). The battalion is stationed in Kargil, Jammu and Kashmir. Karan comes home on leave and finds out that Romi is getting engaged, but is recalled to his battalion due to an outbreak of hostilities in Kargil, and his leave is cut short.
He reports back to his battalion, where he is promoted to the rank of acting Captain. Col. Damle briefs the officers on the latest situation, and reveals that a number of infiltrators have crossed the Line of Control (LoC) from Pakistan and currently occupy a series of mountain peaks on the Indian side of the border. The battalion has been assigned to secure Point 5179, a crucial vantage point dominating the army's main supply line, the National Highway 1D. The northern side of the mountain is on the Pakistani side of the LoC, the western side has a 1000-foot vertical rock cliff and the southern side has 3 km of empty ground with no cover. Therefore, the battalion decides to attack from the eastern side of the mountain. The first part of the assault is successful. The battalion destroys the enemy's screening units with Karan cited for his bravery in saving another officer's life. Meanwhile, Romi gets stationed to Kargil as a war correspondent, where she meets a changed Karan.
Romi breaks off her engagement and tries to renew her relationship with Karan amidst the war. In the second phase of the assault, the battalion attacks the peak of the mountain but fails to capture it due to the strategic advantage and heavy weaponry the Pakistanis have. The unit suffers heavy casualties. Brigadier Puri (Amrish Puri) summons Col. Damle and gives him 48 hours to capture the peak – after that time period, responsibility for Point 5179 will be given to another battalion. Col. Damle then orders a group of 12 officers and soldiers (including Karan) to scale the 1000-foot rock cliff on the western side of the mountain and flank the enemy stronghold. They will be provided with artillery support from the eastern side. Karan realises that he has finally found his goal in the form of capturing the peak.
The unit sets off on their mission and while moving through a grass field toward the rock cliff, they come under fire. The unit discovers a Pakistani mortar unit in the field and destroys it, but loses their commanding officer and a number of other soldiers. The team's radios are also destroyed, so they cannot communicate with battalion HQ. Out of the initial 12, only 6 remain. They decide to continue with the mission. They successfully scale the cliff and attack the Pakistani position during the night. Their assault is successful although Karan is wounded, and the team loses 3 more men. The next morning, Karan limps to the peak, where he plants the Indian flag and fires a flare, signalling to Col. Damle that they captured the peak.
The film ends with Karan leaving a military hospital and reuniting with his parents and Romi.Amitabh Bachchan as Col. Sunil Damle, CO 3 Punjab
Hrithik Roshan as Lt. (later Actg. Capt.) Karan Shergill
Preity Zinta as Romila Dutta
Sharad Kapoor as Maj. Binod Sengupta, OC A Company, 3 Punjab
Om Puri as Sub. Maj. Pritam Singh
Raj Zutshi as Maj. Kaushal Verma
Sushant Singh as Capt. Jalal Akbar
Parmeet Sethi as Pakistani Maj. Shahbaaz Humdani
Boman Irani as Karan's father
Lilette Dubey as Mrs. Dutta, Romila's mother
Vishal Vijay as Capt. Saket Ahluwalia
Vipul Gupta as Capt. Rakesh Bhavnani
Nawab Shah as Maj. Satish Babbar
Aarav Chowdhary as Capt. Manjit Singh Dhingra
Aditya Srivastav as Lt. Col. Pradeep
Amit Behl as IMA Company Commander (Major)
Ranvir Shorey as Sep. Tarsem Singh
Kushal Punjabi as Rajiv Goel, Romila's fiancée
Prashant Chainani as Capt. Vishal Srivastav
Shakeel Khan as Nk. Raj Tilak Singh
Abir Goswami as Capt. (Dr.) Sudhir Mishra
Abhimanyu Singh as Lt. Col. Pratap Singh (Adjutant, IMA)
Ashok Kumar as Sep. Babulal
Surendra Pal as the IMA Commandant (Lt. General)
M K Raina as Akhilesh Dutta (Romila's father)
Amrish Puri as Brig. Gautam Puri (Special Appearance)
Production of the film began in Mumbai, India and the movie was shot at several different locations in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The scenes in Kargil were shot in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir. Some parts of the film centered around Hrithik's military training were also shot at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. Actual Indian Army officers also participated in the movie. Seeing both the actors and officers in the same getup, at times actress Preity Zinta would get confused separating the actual officers from the actors.National Film Awards
National Film Award for Best Choreography – Prabhu Deva for "Main Aisa Kyun Hoon..."
Best Cinematographer – Christopher Popp
Best Choreography – Prabhu Deva for "Main Aisa Kyun Hoon..."
Lakshya netted around Rs. 230 million at the domestic box office. Lakshya grossed $5,859,242 worldwide including $753,600 from North American markets and $5,105,642 from other markets. In the U.S., it performed better, grossing $380,000 on 59 screens [approx. Rs.17.5 million] in its opening weekend with the per screen average being around $6,440.
Lakshya was director Farhan Akhtar's second film, following the success of his first, Dil Chahta Hai. The film didn't fare as expected and flopped in comparison to the hit Dil Chahta Hai. However, with repeated telecast over the television, Lakshya has achieved a cult status among an audience that argues it is Hrithik Roshan's best performance to date.
The film's soundtrack was composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, with lyrics by Javed Akhtar. Shaan's "Main Aisa Kyun Hoon", picturized on Hrithik, is a laid-back, funky-hip hop track. "Agar Main Kahoon" is the love duet, picturized on Hrithik-Preity. The trio used harmonica for the track. The title track "Lakshya" is a techno-flavored patriotic song by Shankar, which is followed by "Kandhon Se Milte", another patriotic song with the vocals of Kunal Ganjawala and Vijay Prakash. "Kitni Baatein", a pathos song, is crooned by Hariharan and Sadhana Sargam. There are two instrumentals, "Victory" and "Separation". The trumpet portion from "Victory" has been used as the background music for their logo by Excel.
The reception to the soundtrack ranged from mixed to positive. Joginder Tutja of Bollywood Hungama in his review, said "Lakshya does have good music that is very urban and will appeal to the class audience. Going by the theme of the movie, the album is pretty balanced and has been composed with style that speaks of class." Planet Bollywood found the album to be "as good as Dil Chahta Hai". Subhash K. Jha described the album as "daringly unusual sound with a show-offy kind of innovativeness".
Sukanya Verma of Rediff.com, however, remarked that, though the album was good, it was below expectations and "lacked punch". According to the Indian trade website Box Office India, with around 11,00,000 units sold, this film's soundtrack album was the year's thirteenth highest-selling.