'Kya Dilli Kya Lahore'
U/A: Drama /Satire
Director: Vijay Raaz
Cast: Vijay Raaz, Manu Rishi, Raj Zutshi, Vishwajeet Pradhan
Set in 1948, soon after the partition, Kya Dilli Kya Lahore is presumably set somewhere along the Indo-Pak border (but it is shot in Fiji islands, for reasons unknown).
Samarth Pratap Shastri (Manu Rishi) is a cook in the Indian battalion and is panicking because none of the soldiers have come back to the barracks. Just then, a reluctant Pakistani soldier Rehmat Ali (Vijay Raaz) is sent by his Captain (Vishwajeet Pradhan) to enter Indian territory and fetch a file. This file is a figment of imagination of somebody up there in the Pakistani army who has heard rumours of India planning to dig a tunnel straight to Lahore.
The encounter between Samarth and Rehmat turns out to be something other than expected. As the ice breaks between the two men, they share each other’s stories and dreams. Incidentally, Samarth has been brought up in Lahore and had to flee to Delhi after the partition and Rehmat’s case is just the opposite.
The story had huge potential as is made evident from some of the beautiful dialogues, especially the ones mouthed by Rishi. The partition era, as we all know, is full of heart-breaking stories, which resonate even now with people. Add to that the futility of war and the harsh truth that finally it’s the foot soldiers who lose their lives because of the egoistic decisions taken by men in positions and you have the scope for a sensitive, emotion-laden script. But unfortunately, debut director Vijay Raaz doesn’t translate the potential of the script into a memorable film. Instead, he gets stuck at a point from where the script refuses to take off.
Also, such a sensitive subject didn’t need so much background noise. A bit of silence is always more effective in driving home a point. As an actor, Raaz has put up a good performance, with his body language clearly portraying the despair and helplessness of the character he plays. Rishi, however, falls short of expectations with a monotonous performance. Raj Zutshi and Pradhan don’t have too much to do.
The setting is right, so is the intention. But alas, the film doesn’t really go anywhere, and that’s a pity.