My Ratings : 3.5/5
Courage is not only expected from the soldiers of our country – sometimes we (the audience of India) demand courageous films as well. And films like Kya Dilli kya Lahore dare to stand up to our expectations.
Shot in a single location with only two main characters, the film successfully represents the sentiments of the people of Hindustan and Pakistan right after the historic partition of India in 1947. A unique story of affection and brotherhood – where rivalries between the two countries take a back seat and soldiers choose to become humans first.
A big round of applause for the debutant director Vijay Raaz for choosing such an offbeat (non commercial) story for his first film and doing a great job with it both as an actor as well as a film maker.
The basic story line of Kya Dilli kya Lahore is simple yet entertaining.
Vijay Raaz in the role of a Pakistani soldier named Rehmat Ali is sent by his higher in command to get a particular file from the Indian post across the Indo-Pak border – the file that contains the map of the secret tunnel route from Delhi to Lahore. As Rehmat Ali reaches the Indian post he encounters Samarth Pratap (played by Manu Rishi Chadha), the cook in the Indian military camp who in the absence of any other Indian soldiers is the sole guardian of the post.
And then the duel begins – soldiers from the two recently independent rival countries (this story is dated back in 1948) exchange bullets and slangs in aggression, hurl each other with rebukes and insults, hold each other responsible for the violence the two countries experienced during the partition.
Throughout the film they passionately defend their countries until at some point they realize that the common people of India and Pakistan can never be truly partitioned – no political power or religious differences can separate the brotherhood between the two countries.
A bit slow at times (you better be in a relaxed mood for this film) and often the characters become emotional a bit too quickly. But overall a decent entertaining film and more importantly a fresh take on the Indo-Pak relation based subject.
Many people have compared Kya Dilli kya Lahore with ‘No man’s land’ (the Bosnian film that won Oscar the same year ‘Lagaan’ from India was also nominated) – in a way the comparison makes sense but the conflict issues and tension levels of the two films are completely different.
Rajendranath Zutshi as the overenthusiastic Barfi Singh and Vishwajeet Pradhan as the Pakistani captain have done justice to their short but crisp roles.
But for me the real hero of the film is the beautiful lyrics of Gulzar – a poetry also voiced by Gulzar himself at the beginning of the film.
I can’t help but add a few of these beautiful poetic lines-
Lakeerein hain toh rahne doo,
Kisi ne ruth kar gusse mein shaayad kheench di thi …
Inhi ko ab banao paala,
aur aao kabbadi khelte hain
Lakeerein hai toh rahne doo…