Pinjar (Movie Review)

Suhail Umrani

Pinjar is actually a catastrophic period drama set during the partition of India in 1947, basically based on the novel of Amrita Pritam of same name which portrays Hindu-Muslim riots (whose major survivor in this story is a helpless woman mainly) which took place in worst era of our history very badly. Chandraparkash Dwivedi is the anchor of the ship who holds the all excellently with his directorial skills. The art direction assembled by Muneesh Sappel is genuinely managed and filled with true historic sketches, Gulzar has inked the lyrics on velvet of blood as well as Amrita has penned two songs to give a real touch that could be felt throughout. And, the remarkable performances will broke someone into pieces one who has close resemblances with period; Urmila Matondkar, Manoj Bajpayi, Sanjay Suri, Sandali Sinha, Priyanshu Chatterjee and Isha Kopikar have played brilliantly.

During the partition, riots broke out and millions of people and families were scattered and displaced across the borders where countless Hindu-Muslim-Sikh women were abducted and raped. The film is mix drama of different characters, mainly Puro (Urmila) who is the backbone of the tale whereas Rasheed (Manoj) an innocent abductor, Trilok (Priyanshu) a political activist drowns in the tragic consequences, Ramchand (Sanjay) a kind hearted poet with his wisdom and familiar with classical music, and Laajo (Sandali) who is an apple of Ramchand’s eye. The story has diverse aspects such as riots occurred in the unforgettable era when India was being divided, helplessness of women who suffered and went through mental illness and many of them committed suicides, so called and unstoppable revenge, bonding of relationships and love, pathetic traditions that are being followed since a long time, petty and worthless rituals, etc.

Story starts with the narration of Gulzar’s voice and soon after viewers may experience best of brother-sister relationship and a little words battle between father and son whose all attraction is for his political party and Gandhi as his hero. Puro the lead is love of entire family and pride, whenever lovely arguments generate between Puro and Trilok it really wonders the audience how this relationship is affirmably constructed. In the havoc of ashes where country is supposed to be divided, some are optimist and believe that land cannot be divided like that and they consider that a handful of people from two communities cannot do this.

As the plot mostly reflexes the feminism and in patriarchal societies such as from Goddess Sita to Puro a woman suffers most and is easy victim. Where ‘Sita the Goddess’, has to prove her purity by walking through fire then what could be expected for Puro that is absurd. It portrays daughter of eve is used as commodity and so called customs practice girls exchange with pride, one daughter for another. She is handed over to one whom she doesn’t know and is a stranger for her that’s why poet has penned “one wonders why daughters are born at all”, in this movie Puro becomes victim of an old revenge of her ancestors and is being forcibly abducted to destroy her life without his direct fault; for what, because someone did same kind of sin in past and generations have to suffer. Even, after such act and in any possibility of girl’s return doesn’t provide her given space in same courtyard where once she was used to play with her dolls and she is considered dead for the family.

In the case of Puro, her brother seems very devoted and loyal to his sister but is forbidden to do any stupidity which could harm other members of home; he puts a dozen of quires that what kind of people you are? But all the time is refused and said that Puro is not traceable and dead. The reason, if found then who would marry her? And family thinks that they have lost dignity, honor and self-respect so; if, she gets back entire society will ostracize us.      
Second side of coin is frightened; this is unknown place and far from hustle and bustle where Puro has to suffer her rest of life. Puro comes to conscious and chants loudly,
‘Anyone there’!
‘Anyone there’!
She is torn, broken, shattered and helpless! She begs, asks for pity and requests consistently “Please leave me at my home”, but Rasheed is thirsty and says who will quench my thirst? Helpless girl moans and utters several times for the sake of your God! Even you must be having sisters and mothers, and Rasheed stops to doing such sin but not agreed to set her free.
In this scenario when such abductions occurs, state seems dummy, security departments behave unethically and unprofessionally, even have fun with decorum of survivors. When Trilok tries to lodge FIR, he is ignored and taunted by police that your sister would have been eloped with her lover and you are wasting our time go and talk to higher authorities instead. This is real picture of our police system!

Rasheed calls the priest who will have to solemnize their marriage but same night Puro succeeds to run away from Rasheed’s detached house. But, soon after her arrival to parents abode at the mid night she is refused and told we have nothing to offer you in this house, now; you go with your luck, no one will marry you, your religion is gone…. It is desecrated. She begs, mother kill me with your hands but her mother counters that I wish you were dead at birth!

She gets back to Rasheed and experience this is her last destination now, and this was written destiny then she gets unwilling married to Rasheed. Rasheed is in love with Puro and cares gently but she never accepts it by heart and considers that she is just carrying the burden of his sins. In between Hindu-Muslim enmity could be seen that caused the separation of country, tiny incidents lit the fire to give the birth a new state now called Pakistan.

Puro is still in love with Ramchand despite married to Rasheed, Ramchand is in her memories and Puro gets a chance to stay at Ramchand’s village for a few days and possibility becomes reality when she finds him nearby his forefathers’ fields but their meet up is silenced and doesn’t unfold real identities in front of them, which is most heart touching sequence of this drama.

Next to this unaccomplished reunion between them, Trilok sets fire in the fields of Rasheed after knowing who was accused behind his sister’s kidnapping. This is once again harm to Puro because this harvest is supposed to enrich Puro’s family survival. It came into Rasheed’s knowledge that entire crop has been burnt and left nothing behind and is done deliberately. Rasheed tells Puro that villagers suspect that maybe he was your brother who set the fire. Puro is again looted in the terms of financial losses and utters “God knows what lies there in my fate”? But, Rasheed is very kind and ashamed for his un-ended crime so; agrees and say, “you never know how much agony he (Trilok) must be going through and for the first time he (Rasheed) is feeling a little bit comfortable and feeling a bit light.

Time has come when country is burning and mobs are blazing shops and houses into ashes all around the country, it has been divided into Pakistan and India and Hindus are supposed to go to India whereas Muslims are making their journeys to Pakistan. In this chaos Laajo another daughter of eve is being kidnapped by rioter, not only Laajo but thousands of daughters (Hindu-Muslim) are abducted. Is this really a sin to be born as girl in this era?
Ramchand is at a refugee camp where he narrates painful words for his soil of land,
“O’ my beloved country”,
“Your lap is divided, your breast bisected, your daughters ravaged”.

Puro convinces Raheeed to find Laajo, and he agrees to get clue of her then visits bazaars and streets in the search of Laajo and finally become successful to get the information. Puro is sure too that Laajo could be in Rathoval (a village). Puro decides to visit whereabouts where Laajo is being kept in tight security; she masks of vendor who sells the ‘Handmade Khais’. Finally she finds her and make promise to her that Rasheed will come to rescue, and give instructions to her “just walk out of the home by midnight nearby well, Laajo agrees and make an attempt to reach at said destination where Rasheed is looking for her safe arrival.

At the end Laajo is told that today nobody is complaining and thinking over their dignity and so called pride, everyone is accepting the abducted and raped girls with grace from both sides, you must go to your own. Laajo puts that even she (Puro) can make her home too because that was not her fault. But Puro utters “I am telling you at the first crime he (Rasheed) committed, he has not uttered a single foul word to me and if he was not with me, how could I have traced you”? Finally at the borders of Amritsar-Lahore, in the cantonment they all meet in a dramatically way with full of emotions. Ramchand with Laajo and Puro with Trilok, Indian lorry is ready to depart, Ramchand pays gratitude to Rasheed and is indeed indebted to him then Rasheed asks pardon if possible for Ramchand whereas Trilok suggests to Puro that all Hindu girls are returning to their homes better you come along and start a new life with Ramchand in India even he is ready to accept you as partner with due respect. Meanwhile Rasheed disappears in the crowd leaving Puro besides her brother and Ramchand. Puro rejects the proposal and says to her “brother, Laajo is coming home, you think in her Puro has also come”.

She runs back and starts to search Rasheed in the folk of men-women, Rasheed is found shortly. Rasheed insists “Puro, you go back to your country among your own people”, but Puro responds back him that “Rasheed, now only you are my truth”. Ramchand advices to Trilok, that “Let her go. Let’s not separate her from her house all over again”. And they embark on lorry….
With the narration it ends…
“Whether a girl is Hindu or Muslim, if she is rehabilitated in life….” That is rehabilitation of Puro and her soul. One line conclusion a must watch film with family and friends.

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