A realistic, hard-hitting portrayal of terrorism and youth in the Punjab after the 1984 riots.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Sanatan
...
Veerandra 'Veeran'
...
Kripal Singh 'Pali'
...
Inspector Vohra (as Kanwaljit)
...
Commander
...
Jaswant Singh Randhawa 'Jassi'
Suneel Sinha ...
Vazira
...
Jaimal 'Jimmy' (as Jasjiet Shergill)
Ravi Gossain ...
Kuldip (as Ravi Gosain)
Navninder Behl ...
Mother
Amrik Gill ...
Nanoo
Banwari Taneja ...
Kripal Singh - Pali's father
S.M. Zaheer ...
Inspector Khurana
Bhupendra ...
(as Bhupender)
Devendra Malhotra
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Storyline

Following the assassination of Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, at the hands of her Sikh bodyguards, a wave of violence broke out against innocent Sikhs and their families. Pressure was also brought on the police to bring the assassins and their allies to justice. The police, with their limited resources, and the lack of any witnesses, brutally brought in innocent Sikh men and women, and aggressively interrogated them with third degree methods. This created a wave of sympathy for the extremists, and more people started joining them to revolt against an oppressive regime. This story is of one such family, consisting of Veerandra (Tabu), her brother Jaswant Singh or Jassi (Raj Zutshi), and her mom. One day Inspector Vohra (Kanwaljeet) comes to their house with a police escort to find out the whereabouts of Jimmy or Jaimal (Jasjit Shergill). Jassi playfully introduces the police party to his pet dog Jimmy, and is taken away for questioning. He returns several days later, ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

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25 October 1996 (India)  »

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Trivia

Sardool Sikander song "Gori Gal Uthe" sampled the song "Chappa Chappa". See more »

Soundtracks

Bhej Kahaar
Music by Vishal Bhardwaj
Lyrics by Gulzar (as Sampooran Singh Gulzar)
Performed by Lata Mangeshkar
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User Reviews

The Sweet Kiss of Death
26 October 2010 | by (Fraggle Rock) – See all my reviews

Gulzar's 'Maachis' depicts the tension and terror in Punjab post the 1984 riots. During this period tension exacerbated as terrorist actions took place and alleged suspects were tortured and murdered during fake encounters. 'Maachis' follows Kripal and Veera as circumstances force them to walk the path of crime. Poet that he is, Gulzar's storytelling is lyrical and this effectively highlights the harsh irony and tragedy of the situations. Not for one moment does the story feel unreal.

The sets and costumes look authentic. The landscape is brilliantly captured. The cinematography is superb. Manmohan Singh makes efficient use of the camera as he alters between various techniques such as long shots, static and hand-held. Vishal Bharadwaj's score (that includes Gulzar's own lyrics) beautifully contributes to the film.

The performances are topnotch. Om Puri, Raj Zutshi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Suneel Sinha and Jimmy Shergill are excellent. Chandrachur Singh is very good. But, it is Tabu who steals the show with a transcendent heartbreaking performance. Even in the simpler moments, like a particular scene during the song 'Paani', within seconds her face subtly changes from smile to tears and it looks so natural.

1996 saw at least four other such cinematic treasures in the form of Shyam Benegal's 'The Making of the Mahatma', 'Sardari Begum', Mahesh Bhatt's 'Tamanna' and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Khamoshi: The Musical'. During a time when Bollywood was churning out trash, few directors like Gulzar, would give us some gems. I wish he would make a comeback like Shyam Benegal.


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