Business rating: 0.5 / 5 stars
Star cast: Narinder Samra, Neelam Parmar, Renu Brindle, Hassani Shapi.
What’s Good: A couple of scenes; the shocking climax.
What’s Bad: The very slow pace of the narrative; the unimpactful script; the fact that the audience is let into the climax as early as mid-way through the film.
Verdict: Land Gold Women is a flop fare.
Loo break: Several.
Watch or Not?: Watch only if you are interested specifically in the subject of honour killings.
A Richer Lens’ Land Gold Women (English) is the story of honour killing in an Indian Muslim family which has immigrated to the UK.
Professor Nazir Ali Khan (Narinder Samra) is a Muslim from Lucknow, India, who had migrated to the UK in search of better prospects, much against the wishes of his father. In the UK, he teaches History at a University in Birmingham. He has a wife (Renu Brindle), 17-year-old daughter, Saira (Neelam Parmar), and a young son. He is a loving dad but often mourns that his children are not conversant with their culture.
Since he has spent almost 25 years in a country that is not his own, and is at the end of his teaching tenure, Nazir starts feeling homesick and wishes to take his family back to Lucknow. This feeling gains momentum when Nazir’s elder brother (Hassani Shapi) comes down to the UK with a marriage proposal for Saira. But to their horror, Nazir and his family discover that Saira has a white boyfriend, David, who works at the library in the university.
Saira has tried to keep the relationship under wraps for fear of a backlash from the family. She is locked up inside the house for good when her affair is exposed. The family is going to shift to Lucknow soon. Nazir warns David to keep away from Saira but the couple elopes. The family name is rubbished in the Indian community in Birmingham. Nazir’s elder brother suggests to Nazir that it was time for strict action. Soon, Saira starts missing her father, and she decides to give him a call. Nazir asks her and David to come back home. What happens next? Do Nazir and his elder brother accept David?
Land Gold Women Review: Script Analysis
Avantika Hari’s story is well-intentioned but her screenplay moves at such a leisurely pace that the audience is bound to experience boredom. A couple of scenes – when Saira decides to tell her father about the relationship but decides not to when her father sings to her; when Saira and David drive back to Birmingham, waiting to be accepted – are heartrending. Even the climax is impactful and shocking in what it depicts and in the manner it has been picturised even though the audience is aware of what’s going to happen. However, apart from this, there is little that holds the viewer’s attention, let alone engage him or entertain him.
Moreover, as the whole story is told in flashback by Nazir, who is locked up in jail, the audience knows, right from the beginning of the film, that he has committed a crime. The fact that he is unrepentant about it and justifies it to his lawyers might be reprehensible to some but it is not necessarily a good screenplay device, since it reveals the climax to the audience right in the middle of the film. All in all, in spite of its short running time of about 90 minutes only, the drama seems too long and tedious, a couple of good scenes notwithstanding. The transformation of Nazir from a teacher with a modern outlook into a hard-boiled fanatic, just under pressure from his elder brother, also has not been justified by the writer. Having said that, the drama leaves the audience uncomfortable to a certain extent, in no small measure due to the horrifying climax, and that’s not a feeling many in the paying public will be happy with. The dialogues are commonplace. The repeated usage of the word ‘protect’ irritates the audience. A few lines about land, gold and women (zan zar zameen) seems forcibly included in the pre-climax portion.
Land Gold Women Review: Star Performances
The performances of the actors are fair. Narinder Samra does well as Nazir, although he seems ill at ease in a few crucial scenes. Neelam Parmar is fine as Saira but she doesn’t at all look like a 17-year-old, which is the age of her character. Renu Brindle does well as the mother caught in between the love for her husband and her daughter. Hassani Shapi impresses as Nazir’s elder brother. Chris Villiers does a good job as the lawyer.
Land Gold Women Review: Direction &Technical Aspects
Avantika Hari’s direction is suited to her script, but her story itself needed to be far more impactful. The background score, by Amar Mohile, is below the mark. It makes the slow drama seem even slower at times. David Rom’s cinematography is average. A couple of shots of Birmingham are beautiful. Shyam Salgaonkar’s editing is fair.
Land Gold Women Review: The Last Word
On the whole, Land Gold Women is a below average fare that will not find favour with the paying public or even among fans of the festival circuit cinema.