It's 1947 and the borderlines between India and Pakistan are being drawn. A young girl bears witnesses to tragedy as her ayah is caught between the love of two men and the rising tide of political and religious violence.
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The movie opens in Lahore of 1947 before India and Pakistan became independent. It is a cosmopolitan city, depicted by the coterie of working class friends who are from different religions. The rest of the movie chronicles the fate of this group and the maddening religious that sweeps even this city as the partition of the two countries is decided and Lahore is given to Pakistan. Written by
Neel V Kumar <email@example.com>
Naseerudin Shah was offered Kulbhushan Kharbanda's role but he politely declined, due to his busy schedule. However he told director Deepa Mehta that had he had time he would have definitely accepted the part as he admired her work. See more »
Deepa Mehta lets us in the opening scene the theme of her film as a small girl smashes a plate on the floor and asks her puzzled mother, "Can you break a country?" The film shows exactly how that happens. The first half of the film depicts an idyllic society. The scenes in the park are reminiscent of Eden, as the nurse Shanta holds court amongst her Hindu, Muslim and Sikh suitors. The kite-flying scene is probably the lightest-hearted in the picture. But gradually the cracks start to appear, driving apart friends and lovers. The hatred which spreads as partition of the country approaches is shown to be a madness coming from deep within the human heart, which twists and deforms relationships. The worst betrayal in this film results from an irreconcilable confusion of loyalties in a trusting heart. This film presents a disturbing but authentic picture of human nature.
The score by A.R. Rahman is a powerful blend of Indian and western film music, lightening the joyous moments (such as the kite-flying scene) and deepening the foreboding in other scenes (such as the train of death).
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