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PUNJAB 1984 (Punjabi) - There are two films here in its two halves, one I would like to praise & the other not. (Review By Bobby Sing)
28 Jun, 2014 | Movie Reviews / 2014 Releases

Talking about any dark & ugly chapter of our recent history is certainly not an easy task for any creative mind, especially when it comes to a movie project more designed as a commercial venture and not just a realistic artistic expression revealing the exact truth. But before moving on to the movie, I would like to mention the big responsibility such esteemed projects have towards the society & its present or future generations to be precise.
Sadly the bitter truth remains that almost all the regretful chapters of Indian as well as World History are about the clashes between two religions and their blind, insane followers indisputably. Hence whenever a creative artist decides to recreate the same event or era in a book, a poem, a painting or a movie, then he essentially has to take care that any part of his depiction should not trigger some fresh hatred among the two sects irresponsibly.
Plus his creation should actually aim at establishing a new set of understanding between the followers of two different ideologies with a positive attitude, so that such shameful incidents are never repeated again by the future generations ever. And the people learn to become a better human being living a spiritual life instead of a religious one.
Now coming to PUNJAB 1984, thankfully its director Anurag Singh at least partially delivers a film which I expected from him honestly in its first hour. But then he too questionably bows down to many other commercial and moral obligations to be fulfilled in his second half, hampering the overall impact in the end quite drastically. So as I see it, there are two distinctive films here in PUNJAB 1984, one before the intermission for which I have all praises to shower upon and the other post the interval which just remains a more filmy and clumsy interpretation of the issue, willing to satisfy one and all.
Part One - (The story of a lonely mother waiting for her missing young son.)
Presenting a beautiful, emotional portrayal of a helpless mother first losing her husband and then a young loving son to the changing times, this first half of the movie is a must watch indeed directed with a focused vision and class, as expected by the experienced director of Punjabi cinema. Many brilliant sequences in this part truly win over the viewers, like Diljit’s opening scene with a comic flair, his painful cry at the fields, Kiron’s lovable interaction with Diljit’s childhood friend, their scene together at the NGO’s office, the confrontation sequence between Diljit & Pawan and the most powerful one wherein Pawan physically assaults Kiron Kher in a fit of anger.
Never giving away to any vague depiction of that era (influenced by any biased agenda), this one hour of the film remains highly authentic offering a pure emotional journey into the mind of a lonesome mother, brilliantly played by Kiron Kher reminding you of her another splendid act in KHAMOSH PANI (2003). Well supported by two other intense acts by Diljit Dosanjh and Pawan Malhotra, the trio makes you feel the painful trauma with moist eyes repeatedly and one cherishes watching a meaningful film till interval made with an honest approach.
(Note : Though she delivers an applaudable act of a mother unarguably, but mentioning one major downer, Kiron Kher’s sharply made black mismatching eyebrows remained a great distraction for me right till the end.)
Part Two(The completely filmy or messy portrayal of the era with no specific vision.)
After narrating a highly impressive and touchy story of a suffering mother, PUNJAB 1984 sadly starts walking on a completely different clichéd path deviating from the focused vision displayed in its first half. Offering all seen before, unclear references of cross border terrorism, internal disputes between the so called movement’s leaders, clever tricks played by the politicians and a lot more, the project loses the master touch somewhere in the second hour, turning it into a typical filmy take on the thoughtful issue regretfully.
Moreover the scale at which the film is supposedly made also goes for a toss post intermission, since there are no other major police officers involved in the big issue other than just Pawan alone and further we are also not shown any other big shot politicians dealing with the burning Punjab’s problem apart from a single local leader playing the tricks individually.
In the music section, the soundtrack does have some exceptionally relevant lyrics written insightfully, but also lacks an equally appreciable melody in most of the tracks, except a few. The songs do hinder the pace towards the end as usual and one really misses any particular track bringing tears to the eyes in this weaker part of the film sung by the likes of Sukhwinder with his heart piercing alaaps and opening couplets.
Technically a well-crafted film with a noteworthy camerawork and an immensely contributing background score PUNJAB 1984 has some extremely good as well as ridiculous dialogues in its many important scenes quite weirdly. Now I have intentionally used this contradictory statement because where I was deeply impressed with the writing & dialogues till the intermission, I frankly felt simply shocked listening to a few, including the one having a very disgusting phrase used for the respected MOTHER in the climax (said by Pawan to Diljit).
So witnessing such a strange & uneven path followed by this much awaited project, I truly felt as if I had seen two different movies together in one show and therefore would like to rate it in two separate parts only considering it as a rare exception made by a talented team. But before I conclude it all disclosing the twin ratings, here is what I personally feel about “How and Why” the project started sliding towards the avoidable path in its later part, unfortunately.
As per my own understanding, director Anurag Singh had a crystal clear picture of what he wished to make as a movie, moving away from all the usual run of the mill stuff earlier presented before the Punjabi audiences in the name of ‘Delhi’s 84 riots’ and terrorism. He had a perfect vision of a film based on the trauma faced by a mother searching for her missing son and this ideally represented all those unknown mothers who were actually made to live this kind of deserted life in Punjab after those dark years.
However the moment he and his writers had to deal with the second half, showcasing Diljit’s undisclosed life as a wanted extremist, they all got confused in its so many related issues and then made a complete mess trying to satisfy every single identity holding different ends of this jumbled rope desperately. In other words, despite being one of the three top most reputed directors of Punjabi Cinema, Anurag refused to take the risk of making a trendsetting or an artistically satisfying film and decided to play it pretty safe making way for a completely inferior or filmy take on the issue in his second half. The logic was kept aside for the wanted hero, as he could roam freely without any cover in the local cloth market, songs were incorporated one after another as usual, the love angle was roped in forcefully (with a well-chosen girl) since no business oriented project can be made without an adorable loving couple and thus an entirely different film was prepared to woo the ignorant audience, in huge contrast with the brilliance displayed by the director in his early hour.
In short, PUNJAB 1984 is a perfect example of missing a gifted opportunity to make a milestone film in the history of Punjabi cinema to be remembered forever. Ironically, Yes it does have a worth watching first half featuring three brilliant acts for sure. But if one studies the film in its entirety then the excellence achieved before intermission is brutally sacrificed post interval, just in order to make it another money churning project based on the dark era.
To say the truth, Gulzar’s MAACHIS (1996) and Shonali Bose’s AMU (2005) still remain the only two path breaking, truthful films made on the issue…....straight from a crying heart.
Yet you need to watch PUNJAB 1984 just for the outstanding act of Kiron Kher alone!
Ratings :
(Before Intermission : 4/5  and Post Intermission : 2/5)
Overall Average Rating : 3 / 5

Tags : Punjab 1984 Review By Bobby Sing, Punjabi Film Reviews by Bobby Sing, Bobby Sing Bollywood Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
28 Jun 2014 / Comment ( 0 )
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