Bollywood seems to be in an experimentation mode. Diverse themes, which were considered ‘risky propositions’ till some time back, are slowly finding their way on the big screen. This week’s KYA DILLI KYA LAHORE, despite being a war film, is not a film on war; rather it’s a film about war!
Unlike the war films attempted earlier [BORDER, LOC KARGIL, LAKSHYA come to your mind instantly], KYA DILLI KYA LAHORE is not a war film, but a self-confessed India’s first ‘anti-war’ film. Also, the fact that Vijay Raaz has helmed the project makes it special. The film is a satire on the sensitive relations between India and Pakistan and focusses on the emotional bonding between the cook belonging to the Indian army and a Pakistani soldier, both of whom are stationed at the Indo-Pak border.
The film starts with independence and partition footage. Vijay Raaz, who plays a Pakistani soldier, lands up at the border. At the behest of his senior officer [played by Vishwajeet Pradhan], Raaz comes in search of a secret document that is the alleged route map of a tunnel planned by India. While searching it, he happens to encounter an Indian army’s cook [played by Manu Rishi].
The first half of the film is actually a conversation between Raaz and Rishi, both of whom brag about the grass being greener on their side. Due to a sudden turn of events, Raaz, who initially overpowers Rishi and takes him to his seniors, is now at the gun point of Indian Army’s postman [played by Raj Zutshi]. Zutshi, in an attempt to become an army officer, calls his senior officer and claims to have captured a Pakistani soldier [Raaz] and a traitor [Rishi] from the Indian army. Why does Zutshi call Rishi a traitor and what happens to the duo in the end forms rest of the film’s story.
Of the cast, Vijay Raaz seems to get carried away with his role in this film, despite his being an author backed role. He is really convincing in the emotional scenes. But it’s actually Manu Rishi who leaves an impact. Even though his dialogues are mostly in Punjabi-Hindi, his attire of an army cook and the shedding of his inhibitions while handling a gun come across very smoothly. He really looks the part. Raj Zutshi and Vishwajeet Pradhan do their bit in carrying the film forward.
The veteran Gulzar, who has been a mentor, has also penned its lyrics, although not all the songs feature in the film. The film’s music doesn’t leave much of an impact. As far as the film’s locations are concerned, the film has been creatively shot at Fiji. Full marks to the art director, who recreated the Wagah border in Fiji, although there are places wherein the locations starts looking monotonous/stereotyped.
On the whole, KYA DILLI KYA LAHORE is a one-time watch mainly for its offbeat storyline.