Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gadar - Ek Khamosh Paani

In a short span, I have seen two partition related movies.
The first one was Khamosh Paani. The movie set in the late 70's deals with the scars of Hindustan - Pakistan partition. The silent suffering of women left on the hostile side of border are aptly depicted by the amazingly talented Kirron Kher. It's a film that is loaded with subtext. Notably, the film stars only 2 Hindu actors, Kirron and Shilpa Shukla. This film has in fact been so well directed that it left me haunted for almost a week. The director, without being too much 'in your face' leaves a lot to the viewer's imagination. There are so many moments that compel you for a thought process that completes the image on the screen. The cinematography has also played a major part in the narrative. The camera has very realistically captured the arid landscape of Pakistani Punjab. There are some locations that are very peculiar, like a barber's shop or the bazaars. Scenes that are shot in such public locations give a different dimension to the film. They make the socio-political carnage more realistic.
The other movie is 'Gadar - Ek Prem Katha'. Many of you may smile or LoL at the mention of this film. The film has been butt of many jokes at many comedy shows. This was a major commercial hit 10 years ago. Even today, it is one of the top grosser Hindi films. The film is set in just around and after the year 1947.The film elaborates (for 3 hours mind it!) what happened during partition and the effect of these events on the life of two people deeply in love. The film is extremely melodramatic and is the exact opposite of Khamosh Paani. But still this film struck a chord with me. In my opinion, these acting in this movie is excellent. Yes. I will stick by that. There is a scene when Sunny Deol says " agar tumne is ladaki ki aur ek kadam bhi badhaya to rab di sau, gardan ukhad ke rakh dunga". When he says that with a roar in his voice, goddamit it feels like he means it. The film takes it's time in setting up the stage and dramatically unfolding the life of Tara Singh & Sakeena. When I saw the movie for the first time a couple of days ago, these were three hours very well spent. What I liked about the movie was that the sequence of events did not seem unnatural. The characters, both major and minor, were very well cast. You can't have a better Jat than Sunny and Amisha looks every bit of her character (for a change). What most people object to in the movie is the melodrama. But I found it quite normal and tastefully done. Then there are a few scenes like this one...
But, but, but, I cannot imagine any other actor doing this so convincingly. They say Cinema is an art of 'make believe'. And this and some more scenes like this may seem unrealistic to many, but to me, I was totally a part of them!
Any comment on Gadar would be incomplete without mention of Uttam Singh's music. The man composed about 8 songs, 4 of which were different renditions of the same lyrics.The melodious music was again a huge hit at the time.
While I started writing about 2 films to begin with, I have written more about Gadar than about Khamosh Paani. This kind of sums up the basic genre of  both the films. Gadar has a of explicit expression through melodrama, music and action sequence. On the other hand, Khamosh Paani is more subtle and leaves a lot to the imagination of the viewer. But in my eyes, both movies are very impressive provided you watch them from the right vantage point.
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