*ing: Chandrachur Singh, Tabu, Raj Zutshi, Jasjit
Shergill, Ravi Gosain, Om Puri, Kanwaljeet, Kulbushan Karbanda
Producer: R V Pandit
Rating : (out of )
From The Thousands Of Tales Of Terror In The North, A Story To Set Your Conscience Afire.
Gulzar's directorial venture, Maachis (Hindi for match sticks), may seem a rather intriguing and unusual name for a movie, but it is perfectly in consonance with the theme of the story. Maachis is the tale of wronged Punjabi youth who takes to arms and joins the league of terrorists to avenge the injustices heaped onto him by the corrupt political set up.
The movie seeks to portray how the embittered youth of the strife torn state are dormant, yet volatile, and could start a raging fire if provoked beyond their lively of endurance. Maachis is an attempt to flout some myths and look beyond the stereotyped image of terrorist. They are shown as a mixture of opposites - compassionate and caring at one time, insensitive and brutal at the other.
The film 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 some day.
Written and directed by Gulzar, Maachis is a poignant tale of youngsters pushed into militancy, by the high handed tactics of police and the machinations of politicians. The film is not in the familiar commercial format but tries to treat the subject sympathetically and explores the mindset of youths. Newcomers like Chandrachur Singh, Raj Zutshi, Jasjit Shergill, Ravi Gosain star along with veterans like Om Puri, Kanwaljeet, Kulbushan Karbanda besides Tabu who provides the female interest, but thank you, no running around the trees. The film bears the Gulzar hallmark of simplicity as well as sensitive handling.
The tale takes off with the detention of Chanrachur'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 Kulbushan. He also comes across some more youths who like him had undergone a deep trauma over the incidents in Punjab and the riots in Delhi which left hundreds of innocents killed and many Sikh families without their breadwinner.
A moving account follows which mirror the tragedy that overtook Punjab. Lyrics by Gulzar are set to music to math the mood of the movie by Vishal. Lata, Hariharan lend their voices to the songs. Chad aye hum wah galyan, Tum gaye sab gaya, Yaad na aye koi, lahu na rulaye ki are deep in meaning and anguish.
A disturbing film that is bound to reopen a lot of wounds and stir the conscience of the viewers. Militancy in the Punjab has been a subject of considerable concern to the producer of this film R V Pandit. He has campaigned tirelessly for restoring peace in the state through his inflammatory speeches and writings, imploring the powers that be, to try and delve into he psyche of the terrorist and calling for sympathetic evaluation of the situation arising out of their frustration. This film is just another expression of his appeal to take a look at the much ignored aspects of the terrorists activities in the state.
The film is a must for every discerning movie goer.
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