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Time Out says

This powerful and impressive drama from the director of Fire (an Indian film-maker now resident in Canada) is based on Bapsi Sidhwa's autobiographical novel Cracking India and is set against the background of Partition. Eight-year-old Lenny-Baby is a Parsee growing up in Lahore, but her nanny Shantu (Das) is Hindu, and her beaus Ice Candy Man and Hasan are both Muslim. This schematic melodrama functions both as a credible historical explanation of the India/Pakistan political fault line (the Parsees remained unaligned), and as a chilling exploration of how ordinary people are sucked into religious and sectarian hatred.
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Release details

UK release:

1998

Duration:

115 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Deepa Mehta

Cast:

Kitu Gidwani, Rahul Khanna, Nandita Das, Aamir Khan, Maia Sethna

Music:

AR Rahman

Production Designer:

Aradhana Seth

Editor:

Barry Farrell

Cinematography:

Giles Nuttgens

Screenwriter:

Deepa Mehta

Producer:

Dilip Mehta, Anne Masson, Deepa Mehta

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usman khawaja

PUNJABI HOLOCAUST OBSERVED THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD -This infernal vision of the bloody and visceral massacres that took place in Punjab during the hot and humid monsoon of 1947 is an indictment of cruelty man to man ,that it is immersed in religious strife is circumstantial but the premonitory manner how it prepares you for the arrival of the bloody train accompanied with a swarm of flies with the dismembered and desecrated bodies of the muslim immigrants at the platform in lahore train station while the relatives await in a celebratory mood for is chilling . One of them is an ordinary muslim youth played by Amir Khan who is expecting his 3 sisters from Indian Punjab,his reaction and consequences transform to make the essence of this movie which becomes a study of human behaviour in a time of upheavel and random violence .Amir's glee as he looks at his beloved burning city exclaiming the hindu suburb of Shahalami is ablaze is an indicator of his hatred for his unseen enemies who killed his family,the question of the actual perpetrators is never evoked as the victims are only communally related to the wrong community in the wrong place at the wrong time . The love affair between Nandita Das, a hindu maid in an affluent Parsi house and another muslim youth played by Rahul Khanna is observed through the eyes of the parsi child narrating the story ,as she also stumbles upon another muslim child survivor who tells her in a manner lacking any emotion how he discovered the naked dead body of his mother hanging from the ceiling of a mosque in his village . The movie is interrupted by some great musical montages by A.R.Rehman which depict the various moments in the ordinary life of the 3 main characters . The symbiotic balance achieved by Deepa Mehta in narrating this tragic tale without any sentimentality renders it memorable as it is neither a moralist judgment nor a rebuke for religious riots but just an observation of the human condition in a calamity. Amir Khan gives one of his best acts only second to Raakh and the rest of the cast is excellent too ,while the period details of Lahore in 1947 are immaculate as the story evolves from a peaceful ,urbane haven to a violent inferno . Of course the pace is not as frenetic as the events and some viewers might hold that against this dramatic staging of a tragic event but it is meant to be a poetic depiction of the pathos and as such it delivers with it's detailed analysis of a human holocaust. Technically it is brilliant as it keeps the narrative simple which creates a mood of terror and uncertainty with an atmospheric feel of the period and catastrophe ,which is no mean feat in a period movie about a horrific chapter in human history . The HOLDEN REVIEW is excellent and any person who is interested in world cinema must watch this realist but shockingly true dramatic interpretation by this wise female director . USMAN KHAWAJA

usman khawaja

PUNJABI HOLOCAUST OBSERVED THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD -This infernal vision of the bloody and visceral massacres that took place in Punjab during the hot and humid monsoon of 1947 is an indictment of cruelty man to man ,that it is immersed in religious strife is circumstantial but the premonitory manner how it prepares you for the arrival of the bloody train accompanied with a swarm of flies with the dismembered and desecrated bodies of the muslim immigrants at the platform in lahore train station while the relatives await in a celebratory mood for is chilling . One of them is an ordinary muslim youth played by Amir Khan who is expecting his 3 sisters from Indian Punjab,his reaction and consequences transform to make the essence of this movie which becomes a study of human behaviour in a time of upheavel and random violence .Amir's glee as he looks at his beloved burning city exclaiming the hindu suburb of Shahalami is ablaze is an indicator of his hatred for his unseen enemies who killed his family,the question of the actual perpetrators is never evoked as the victims are only communally related to the wrong community in the wrong place at the wrong time . The love affair between Nandita Das, a hindu maid in an affluent Parsi house and another muslim youth played by Rahul Khanna is observed through the eyes of the parsi child narrating the story ,as she also stumbles upon another muslim child survivor who tells her in a manner lacking any emotion how he discovered the naked dead body of his mother hanging from the ceiling of a mosque in his village . The movie is interrupted by some great musical montages by A.R.Rehman which depict the various moments in the ordinary life of the 3 main characters . The symbiotic balance achieved by Deepa Mehta in narrating this tragic tale without any sentimentality renders it memorable as it is neither a moralist judgment nor a rebuke for religious riots but just an observation of the human condition in a calamity. Amir Khan gives one of his best acts only second to Raakh and the rest of the cast is excellent too ,while the period details of Lahore in 1947 are immaculate as the story evolves from a peaceful ,urbane haven to a violent inferno . Of course the pace is not as frenetic as the events and some viewers might hold that against this dramatic staging of a tragic event but it is meant to be a poetic depiction of the pathos and as such it delivers with it's detailed analysis of a human holocaust. Technically it is brilliant as it keeps the narrative simple which creates a mood of terror and uncertainty with an atmospheric feel of the period and catastrophe ,which is no mean feat in a period movie about a horrific chapter in human history . The HOLDEN REVIEW is excellent and any person who is interested in world cinema must watch this realist but shockingly true dramatic interpretation by this wise female director . USMAN KHAWAJA