Rating: 3/5 Stars (Three stars)
Star cast: Vijay Raaz, Manu Rishi, Raj Zutshi, Vishwajeet Pradhan
Director: Vijay Raaz
What’s Good: A poignant and humane story contrary to the antagonist ones we hear of India & Pakistan.
What’s Bad: A loopy, repetitive plot line that wears off the film’s novelty.
Loo break: Few in the second half.
Watch or Not?: There can be no two views on the fact Kya Dilli Kya Lahore is an immensely watchable film. Despite spitting similarities with No Man’s Land, the heartfelt plotline holds a certain enigmatic appeal in its story. A Pakistani and an Indian have more in common than expected. Vijay Raaz deserves a pat for tackling the film with superseding gravitas and strength. Loopy second half aside, this film is the closest caliber of recent releases has come to excellent.
The film opens in 1948 when India and Pakistan’s partition is still afresh. Pakistani soldier Rahmat Ali is sent to the Indian post to retrieve a crucial map. The Indian outpost is left under the guard of the army cook Samarth. The two are stuck in an awkward situation which gets them talking, arguing, blaming only to realize that they both are plagued with similar problems and not for their fault.
Kya Dilli Kya Lahore Review: Script Analysis
Gulzar’s distinctly moving lines narrates the crux of the film. “Lakeerein hain toh rehne do. Kisine rooth kar gusse mein shayad khench di thi.” The India-Pakistan history is troublesome and has been documented multiple times in history, literature and cinema. Bollywood specifically has studied the dynamics of the complexity of the antagonistic relationship existent in many fabulous films from Deepa Mehta’s Earth to a more mainstream Gadar or Veer Zaara. How is this film any different from being in pile on? The film’s narrative is touching but not tear jerking and that is where it stands tall over sappy tales on the issue.
There is not so much of a story but moments and the lovely dialogues that weaves strongly the feeling of the futility of war. It is no Shaw’s Arms and the man and Raaz does understands the limitations of his conversationalist film. He keeps the story tight and flowing but in the film’s second half the novelty erodes. It seemed to be a half baked movie which was stretched tediously.
What particularly impressed me in the film is the accusations and counter accusations! Amidst all the hatred, two very unlikely people traced fondness in the most unusual ways. A Pakistani born and bred in Delhi and an Indian born and bred in Lahore indulge in an enjoyable camaraderie that saves this otherwise paper thin plot which dons a monotonous avatar half way through. The noble head refrains me from complaining too much but with so much potential wasted, it is hard to not crib here.
Kya Dilli Kya Lahore Review: Star Performances
Manu Rishi is infallible in his role. One of the underused actor in the industry, he puts his heart and soul in role that does full justice to his potential.
Vijay Raaz is brilliant. If it is possible, the actor presents one of his most balanced performances till date. He is nuanced in his work and near perfect at what he does.
Both Manu and Raaz make Samarth Pratap and Rahmat Ali quite unforgettable in a film which won’t stay back for too long.
Kya Dilli Kya Lahore Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay
Vijay Raaz’s debut effort as a filmmaker has a powerful fabric in it. Somehow the narrative reminds one of No Man’s Land without any evident similarities. The futility and tragedy of war is explored quite well by Raaz. Aplomb with intelligence in its lines, the problem lies in maintaining consistency. The new filmmaker loses coherence and beats around the bush conveying the same point after a while. For advantages, Gulzar’s poetry helps but Shandaliya’s avoidable and forgettable music doesn’t help the film’s cause.
Kya Dilli Kya Lahore Review: The Last Word
In the end, Kya Dilli Kya Lahore portrays quite an emphatic picture of how war and hostility doesn’t benefit anyone. Human beings pitted against each other, brainwashed by ‘nationalistic’ sentiments are afterall people facing similar dilemmas and issues. Raaz and Rishi play a fantastic duo whose affinity remains the film’s best part. As a filmmaker, Raaz doesn’t quite do justice to the tapestry of the film he had in mind but creates a decent watch. I am going with 3/5.
Kya Dilli Kya Lahore Trailer
Kya Dilli Kya Lahore releases on 2nd May, 2014.
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