Monday, August 21, 2006
Dor is a story about love, loss, friendship, hope and ultimately, redemption.
Zeenat (Gul Panag), an independent and self-assured young woman, lives in a Kashmiri village where she falls in love with Aamir, who she marries the day before he leaves to take up a job in Saudi Arabia. Far away in rural Rajasthan, Meera (Ayesha Takia) bids farewell to her new husband Shankar, who is also on his way to a job in the Middle East. The two men, who are now roommates, send money home to take care of their families. Shankar's father, a proud Rajput now fallen on bad times, uses the income to fix his haveli. Aamir's family gets some respite from the hard work of running the local bakery. Meera and Zeenat miss their husbands and get to talk to them occasionally on the phone.
These two sets of lives come collapsing down when a horrible piece of news reaches them. Shankar has been killed, and Aamir has been arrested on the charge of murder. Even though there is reason to believe it was an accident, Aamir has been sentenced to death. The only way out? If Meera, Shankar's widow, agrees to pardon her husband's killer, his life can be spared.
Zeenat is determined to seek Meera out and get her to sign the pardon papers. Armed only with a photograph of Aamir and Shankar taken in their Saudi apartment, she sets out to Rajasthan in order to carry out her extraordinary quest. Her first stop is Jaipur where she runs into a Bahuroopiya (Shreyas Talpade), a member of a group that traditionally earn their living by donning disguises in order to entertain (and sometimes, deceive) an audience. The Bahuroopiya first decamps with Zeenat's belongings, but returns when he realizes what her mission is and offers to help her. Using his knowledge of the terrain and the clues that Zeenat does not yet realize she possesses, the two of them piece together bits of information that eventually lead them to Meera's village.
In the meantime, Shankar's father has had to rent out the haveli in order to make ends meet, while Meera now lives her life as a widow, a shadow of her former self. Her status, her rights, and her sense of self are all eroded as a result of her loss. Her only excursions into the outside world are her daily visits to the temple.
Zeenat, confident that the papers will be signed, goes to Meera's home, where she is thrown out by Shankar's family. Zeenat waits for Meera at the temple, intending to plead with her. When the two women meet, Zeenat realizes that Meera doesn't know of the visit to Shankar's home and decides to hold off on telling Meera the truth till a suitable moment in the future.
Meera and Zeenat continue to meet at the temple over the next several days and their interactions lead to the development of a genuine friendship, which is however always undercut by the tension of Zeenat's mission. One day, Zeenat learns that the deadline for Aamir's execution has been advanced. She can wait no more. At the same time, Meera finds out that her future is endangered and that she is facing an impending doom of her own.
The truth comes out into the open and the two women have a confrontation. Meera feels betrayed, Zeenat helpless.
How is the situation resolved?
How does Shankar's family react to the situation?
Does Zeenat succeed in her quest to save Aamir's life?
Does Meera find her redemption through revenge or through sacrifice?
The film builds towards a climax where these issues are resolved through a powerful and unexpected ending.