Monday, September 01, 2008


Rating : 6/10
Running Time : 127 Minutes
Release Date : November ‘03
Director : Ashwani Chaudhary ; Writer : Kumud Chaudhary; Music : Lalit Sen
Starring : Om Puri, Gul Panag, Revathi, Sanjay Suri, Paritosh Sand, Rohitashva Gaur

It’s a somber film, based on the true story of Capt Anuj Nayyar (recipient of MahaVir Chakra) and his father S.K. Nayyar and one with a message. There are two stories intertwined in here. How the parents cope with the death of their beloved army officer son, who’s killed in Kargil. And later, when they decide to accept the petrol pump given as compensation, their struggle in actually getting it up and running in the face of indifferent army and callous government bureaucrats, who each demand their pound of flesh.

In between, we have the debut of the delectable Gul Panag, who lights up the screen with her smile and later looks lovely even in grief as she plays the ‘widowed’ fiancee. Om Puri excels as the father who alternates between grief and fury at the way the government works. He decides that come what may, he wont pay a bribe and that leads to the expected consequences in terms of delays, abuse, his being made the butt of jokes and later, when he starts talking to the media, even physical threats and intimidation of his family. Revathi, was really good as well, as the mother who at first is left dazed by the death but later begins to find her feet. Special mentions of Sanjay Suri who played the son well in his brief cameo and also Rohitashva Gaur and Paritosh Sand who played two army personnel quite nicely (and you’ve no idea how much trouble I had in tracking down their names). I hope for our country’s sake that most army folk are like them and not some of the others shown in the movie – going by the couple of friends who joined the armed forces and other people I’ve interacted with, I believe that to still be true.

It’s a movie that moves slowly, is punctuated too frequently by songs which are one-dimensional. However, the situation is shown very realistically – the conversation between the different bureaucrats and the father is more truth than fiction. And it raises a topic which we would rather push under the carpet. Of how corruption in the country has pervaded every pore of the country’s mechanism, how the lure of lucre has replaced every human emotion of the babu’s that rule us. Sometimes my father, who was an honest aberration amongst the civil servants, used to say that the country runs on the 1% honest and dedicated people in the services. After watching movies like this, I’m inclined to agree with him.

No comments: