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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:


Author: milind from Bombay, India
29 June 1999

This movie is gulzar's most personal film till date. It depicts the terrorism in punjab after Mrs.Indira Gandhi's assassination. Chandrachur singh gives a fantastic performance as a young man who is forced to join a terrorist group run by kulbushan kharbanda and om puri. Its hard to believe that this was the first film of chandrachur singh. Tabu gives a performance which changed her career. She got a national award for this film. Om puri, raj zutshi, jimmy shergill and kulbushan kharbanda give superb performances in the supporting cast. The screenplay/story/dialogues are written by gulzar. As with most gulzar's films , maachis too has story told in form of flashbacks. The script is very engrossing and does not let the viewer move till the end. This movie was banned in some places in punjab & kashmir. It was also send for a re-censor. A cinema hall strike in january 1997 and good publicity of songs meant that this became india's second biggest word-of-mouth hit. This record was only recently beaten by "Satya". The first one being "Sholay". Gulzar won filmfare award for Best story and Best dialogues. Gulzar also won a national award for the most popular film of the year. This is a must see movie. Like most of gulzar's film this is a CLASSIC.

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A action-packed film

Author: Yellow_Spider from Belgium
28 March 2005

Gulzar's directorial venture, Maachis (Hindi for match sticks), is set against the backdrop of the Bluestar Operation and the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, but interwoven with the plot of the spine chilling drama is a tender love story that hopes to reach its culmination. The tale takes off with the detention of Chandrachur's close friend by the police on the suspicion of being linked with the attack on a politician in Delhi. The third degree treatment meted out to his bosom pal makes Chandrachur bitter as well as angry. He meets Om Puri, sent from across the border and part of a gang of militants, and their boss Kulbhushan. He also comes across some more youths who, like him, had undergone deep trauma over the incidents in Punjab and the riots in Delhi which left hundreds of innocents killed and many Sikh families devoid of their men. A moving account then takes place that is reminiscent of the events that took place in Punjab.

Awards : Filmfare Award-Best Story

National Award-Best Actress

National Award-Best Popular Film

Screen Award-Best Story

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A realistic portrayal of a situation where there are no heroes

Author: ( from London
17 July 2000

I liked this film because apart from the songs (which were excellent) everything was so realistic, almost understated. The film dealt with a very emotional subject in a practical and logical way and brought to screen the misery caused to everyone concerned in this tragic conflict. All the major points were well handled, including references to false "encounters", the guilt of some Hindu friends of the Sikhs, the routine brutality of the police. There was also some balance in the film - not all police were the baddies, some were ordinary family men doing their jobs. Everyone had their frailties, even the hero wasn't a true film Hero, just a man caught up in a conflict not of his making

Excellent, more please

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Gripping Story; Pleasant Music

Author: narayan_l_k from India
19 September 2005

This film should be re-released in the light of the Nanavati commission findings (2005). Though I do not justify the action of the characters in this film, directed by one of the well-known lyrist and director Gulzar, this reflects the magnitude of corruption in bringing the perpetrators of the 1984 riots to justice.

Above all, this film is one of Vishal Bharadwaj's earliest hits as a music director (yes, the same man who has made "Makdee", "Maqbool" as a film director) His music score blends very well with the story, screenplay... especially the natural scenic shots of the mountains of Kashmir and Punjab.

All the songs are hummable; one can easily understand the implications of the lyrics and the tenor of the musical beats.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

This is REAL!

Author: Anand Inani from San Jose, CA
9 July 2001

... noone gains anything out of terrorism! And no better movie to portray this stark reality than Maachis! It truly depicts the circumstances that have forced many-an-innocent and ordinary men and women into terrorism in Punjab and Kashmir only to be slain by the police and/or by their own counterparts. The mixed feelings of a person on the borderline of becoming a terrorist are brought out beautifully. Except the part about how Kirpal Singh is finally caught, a very well made movie!

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Great Movie

Author: Ben Chauhan ( from USA, New York Metro Area
1 September 1999

I was born in India, but have been in the United States for the last 15 years or so, I am 26 years old. This movie is excellent in helping you understand the political situations that exist in India. Even as a young kid, I remember situations like this and this movie does a great job depicting them. I just wish the Indian boards would view this as an artistic point of view and stop the censorship. Although, sometimes they cannot be blamed, because the people tend to follow the indian cinema more than common sense.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Real India

Author: Shoi from L.A.
24 March 1999

Made on the pathetic political situation in Punjab state of India, this is an excellent movie to watch. Though hampered by Sensor boards narrowmindedness, it is an almost cruel depiction of the reality of Punjab.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A true reflection?

Author: Tel-11 from London, England
29 November 1999

Maachis depicts the true situation of the Punjab in India today. The story explains how common people are turned into terrorists by the corrupt policing system. The story revolves around one man's revenge against an unofficial police state due to his friend being arrested and beaten to the brink of death. He leaves his home and finds by chance (the only coincidence in the film) people who have had similar experiences to him. There are only three songs in the film which makes the film extremely watchable to non-indian viewers, as generally this figure could easily be doubled in a bollywood movie. Overall a very well made and truthful movie.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The Sweet Kiss of Death

Author: Chrysanthepop from Fraggle Rock
26 October 2010

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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Most realistic Bollywood film till date

Author: jahangirhussain74 from United States
15 September 2014

Maachis (matches) is one of the most realistic Hindi film I have seen and I must say the film is engrossing from the very first frame. Gulzar saab is one of the greatest filmmakers of his time and his artistic ability are not to be doubted here as well. The way he has handled most of the scenes in this film is really mind blowing. Maachis is one of the few films where the narrative is of secondary importance while the performances of the actors are the primary focus. I never liked Tabu until I saw Maachis and I was assured that this girl is not just merely an eye candy in films, she was really irritating in Sajaan Chale Sasural. Chandrachur Singh has given his career best performance as Kripal Singh before sinking into oblivion. Jimmy Shergill was good. Om Puri and Kulbhushan Kharbanda are excellent. Raj Zutsi was also good. Some scenes like the brutality of the policemen who use the anti- Sikh insurgency only as an excuse to beat innocent people up really shock you. The climax is explosive and leaves you to ponder on the aftermath of the 1984 anti-Sikh insurgency. A brilliant movie with wonderful performances and a strong story. A must watch!

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