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1947: Earth movie review

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The 1947: Earth Movie Review

Partition revisited
By Ajay Chaturvedi
Rating: 5/5

Deepa Mehta's 1947: Earth is another partition saga. This the second in her trilogy of films, Fire, Earth, Water. It's based on Bapsi Sidhwa's Ice Candy Man.

The film begins with the British finally preparing to quit their empire in India and the searing process of splitting British India into Independent India and Pakistan is about to begin.

Lenny (Maia Sethna), is an eight-year-old Parsee girl who is growing up rich in pre-partition Lahore in 1947, enjoying the warm, enveloping life that loving parents and a filial household staff of four brings.

Lenny travels daily to the nearby Queens Gardens with her beautiful Ayah (nanny), Shanta (Nandita Das), a young Hindu woman with the kind of curves and smile that ensures a constant supply of eager male suitors. These men are a mixed bunch: Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, and similarly the staff-members serving Lenny and her well-heeled family are a happy collection of the religious groups represented in India.

It is an entirely pleasing world. This world is inhabited by her beloved Ayah, Shanta, by Imam Din, the genial cook (Kulbhushan Kharbanda), by Dil Navaz, (Aamir Khan), the Ice Candy Man, a rogue, who is Lenny's hero. Also by Hasan (Rahul Khanna), the masseur, who invents oils made from pearl dust and fish eggs and by her precocious cousin, Adi.

For Lenny, the trouble first appears in her Lahore home when a quarrel erupts between Mr. Singh (Gulshan Grover), a Sikh neighbor and Mr. Rogers, a British Inspector General of Police, who have come to dine with her parents.

Bitter words metamorphose into slogan shouting mobs and arson. Angry Hindus storm through Lahore one day, and angry Muslims the next. Still, it is all far enough away from Lenny's uneasy but untouched home where her mother, Bunty (Kitu Gidwani), teaches her to waltz and Ayah's crew of admirers continue to meet in the park as before.

The once charming Ice Candy Man turns into a near madman, one of the many roaming the streets of Lahore with vengeance and murder on their minds. The Muslim Masseur, Hasan, the only voice of reason amongst Ayah's admirers, implores the group of friends to “stand by each other”. A love affair between him and Shanta, the Ayah, blossoms amidst the carnage and Lenny is privy to this fragile relationship between a Muslim and a Hindu.

Vinod Khanna's younger son Rahul comes off with a polished performance in his debut. He had been an MTV VJ. He has expressive eyes and face. Most important, he is subtle. An actor who appears to have a future.

Aamir Khan plays true to his role of a happy-go-lucky man who shows a vicious streak in the end allowing the Muslim mob to drag away a screaming Nandita Das, because she did not respond to his overtures.

Nandita has an earthy, raw sensuality about her that keeps her apart from the glitzy heroines. She performs with ease and her wide-eyed innocence is totally convincing.

AR Rahman 's music is soothing and melodious. Rut Aayee Re Rut Chhayee Re is climbing the charts. Banno Rani has also become popular.

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Movie Review : Partition revisited (5/5)
Deepa Mehta's 1947: Earth is another partition saga. This the second in her trilogy of films, Fire, Earth, Water. It's based on Bapsi Sidhwa's Ice Candy Man. The film begins with the British finally preparing to quit their empire in India and the searing process of spli...
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