It felt great when I received the email inviting me to participate in the blogger’s contest by Picture Thought Productions. The contest was to review the trailer or song of their new movie Kya Dilli Kya Lahore. I was excited of the invitation for two reasons. One the movie was presented by Gulzar. Now who doesn’t respect the stalwart…! Writer, director, poet, song writer… Gulzar Saab is a master in every sense. Second reason is Vijay Raaz, who is the director and one of the main actors. He is an actor who excels in any kind of movie- be it an art house movie, a parallel one or a commercial cinema. There are very few actors who can juggle effortlessly between comic, tragic and tragicomic roles.
I chose to review the trailer of the movie because I am not well versed with music. Of course I love hearing music, but to describe it or assess it- it is beyond me. One more reason is the use of Punjabi language in the lyrics. I don’t know Punjabi much, and to comment on the lines written by a veteran poet like Gulzar without comprehending the meaning is nothing short of sacrilege. Let us move on to the trailer.
The trailer starts (of course after a hurried mention about the support of Gulzar Saab and the customary display of the logo of Picture Thoughts Productions) with distant sounds of gun fire that suddenly gets ear splittingly near and a glimpse of a soldier with a gun. Appears on the screen a text that mentions the time frame in which the story happens- “Once upon a time in 1947” and slowly 7 changes to 8. This is a good move. The viewer, when he sees the year 1947, connects it to Independence Day and the transformation of the year to 1948 makes him prepared for what is to come. In a split second, he connects the gunshots and image of the soldier to 1948 and knows the movie is about the disturbed time after Partition.
Next we see a Pakistani Captain played by Vishwajeet Pradhan, ordering a trembling, hapless soldier, the only surviving one among his friends (Vijay Raaz) to invade the Indian post and get a secret file. Scene shifts to the Indian post, a battered hut where a tired Indian soldier (Manu Rishi) is explaining to his superior that he is alone there as all others are dead. Then they meet. The scene is hilarious and that was an understatement. Some gun shots follow and then start the verbal assault. The argument starts with jingoism and then moves onto the state after partition. Background score slowly gets sad and argument gets heated. We come to know that the Indian soldier is originally from Lahore. Shots are fired and he gets injured. Gulzar’s melodious poetry fills the atmosphere- about borders, about someone angry creating them and a suggestion to make them boundaries of a field and play kabaddi in it.
We see the Indian soldier holding a big bundle and led by the Pakistani on gun point through a wheat field. Enter the Indian Captain scolding the soldier for betraying the nation. He is suspected of treachery. The Pakistani soldier reveals that he lived in Purani Dilli. This is a very interesting situation. Indian soldier spent his entire life in Lahore and Pakistani in Dilli. Yet they are made to change sides fight against each other. The trailer ends in a sad atmosphere of brotherhood torn by manmade situations and manmade borders with the song Kisse Lambe sung by Sukhvinder Singh.
The trailer gives a feeling that the movie is about the absurdness of neighbors, friends and brothers fighting each other in the name of borders that are drawn to satiate the ego of someone else. The plot looks a bit similar to the Bosnian war movie No Man’s Land, but the setting of Partition era and the presence of talented cast will give this movie an edge in India.