By: Martin D'Souza, Glamsham
Thursday, October 11, 2007
As the movie races to its pulsating end, believe me, you will be on your feet in the theatre, not applauding but standing in rapt attention. The applause will follow a few minutes later.
Lions Of Punjab is a movie about the fascination for unearthing new singing talent. It"s a take-off on the reality singing shows. But what happens in reality over a period of three months, this Desi Idol show (to find a South-Asian winner in America), takes place over the weekend in a hotel -- auditions as well as the finals.
Director Manish Acharya, armed with a tight script begins his narration by creatively introducing his main actors which immediately draws the laughs. He then goes on to hold the contest together with a heady mix of emotions. There"s lots of drama and nail-biting moments as you wait with bated breath for your 'favourite" contestant to make it to the final. Yes, Acharya, gets 'that" emotion out of you, sitting in a theatre, which any person hooked onto the reality show goes through sitting in his drawing room.
There"s shock, and you even express anger. Like of instance, you want to shoot Shabana Azmi who manipulates her way through the contest to make it to the final two. Cruella Devil from A 100 DALMATIONS finally has a mate. Shabana comes as close to Glenn Close as can be in pushing the viewer to the edge of the seat. A fabulous performance.
The Patel family is a beauty. They come in droves to support Preeti Patel (Ishita Sharma) who they know will win the contest. Reason, she is damn good. But singing is a hobby and her parents feel that she will be better off being a doctor or an engineer as she will finally have to marry in a family of a lawyer or doctor. No, this is not something that Preeti has decided, it has been decided by the parents! Ishita does not say much. She says it all with her body language. Excellent stuff this. And when she does open her mouth to speak, you know that this is one scheming mind. She beats (Rrita Kapoor) Shabana Azmi at her own game! This girl is slated for bigger things. For an actress with only one two lines in the whole movie, this is nothing short of brilliance!
Ajay Naidu, the Bhangra freak gets the house down with his 'bhangra rap" and cool dancing moves, Loveleen Patel and Darshan Jariwala as Preeti"s parents portray the angst every Gujarati parents go through when their daughter turns 17. Both are first rate. Manish Acharya, Jameel Khan, Seema Rahmani, Michael Raimondi and Ayesha Dharker turn in excellent performances.
This is not a movie about super stars and big banners. This is not a movie that has spent big bucks on production and promotion. This is a simple movie which one immediately warms up to.
You go in with no expectations, but come out applauding the entire cast and crew. It"s a pity though that it has only one show in most multiplexes.
Will the event manager Sudarsh Bokade played by Jameel Khan do something about this!
This is one movie you can"t ignore.