Friday, May 07, 2004


Most mainstream films have used the ‘thrill’ element of the Kashmir terrorism issue, and glossed over the human rights aspect. So Ashok Pandit must be lauded for taking up the tragedy of the Kashmiri Pandits, forced to leave their homes and live in subhuman refugee camps.

However, for one who is close to the cause, and a spokesperson for Kashmiri Pandits, the director has made a very superficial film, at the centre of which is a wishy-washy love story.

Bursts of rhetoric and a few scenes of violence don’t bring the audience any closer to the problems of the victims. To make it worse, Pandit has included the usual song-and-dance numbers, which don’t add any commercial prospects to the film, but take away from the gravity of the issue.

Sheen (Sheen), daughter of schoolteacher Pandit Amarnath (Raj Babbar) is in love with Mannu (Tarun Arora) and waiting to get married, when terrorists strike and their lives are destroyed. When Sheen’s younger brother is killed, the family leaves for a refugee camp, where they are treated callously.

Mannu is kidnapped by the militant leader Shaukat (Anup Soni), who used to be his best friend. Strange that Shaukat kills or rapes everyone in sight, but stands quietly and listens to lectures delivered by Sheen and Mannu. For no apparent reason, he also leaves Mannu alive, for a reunion with Sheen.

At the camp, Sheen suddenly becomes a ‘leader’ and her father is chosen to go to Geneva to address a seminar of displaced people and bring the plight of the Kashmiri people to a global platform.

All that is fine, but what is one to make of a scene where a group of human rights activists decide that the Pandits are safe by standing at one spot and talking to one man? Or the complete avoidance of the role of the army in Kashmir? Or the terrible, intended ‘feel good’ scene in which Shaukat’s sister is raped by his own cohorts.

The characters speak in long theatrical monologues and the performances are uniformly bad. The music is mediocre the choreography terrible.

From Ashok Pandit, who has first hand experience of the issue, one expected a serious, no holds barred expose, not just another commercial film. This was he fails both ways—he is not able to make the audience empathize with the victims (the leading lady’s make-up, jewellery and wardrobe is in place even in a refugee camp!), nor is he able to entertain.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

eXTReMe Tracker