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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

257. The Lion Of Punjab

    Mrs W sits by the pool in the sunshine and I spend two and half hours watching The Lion of Punjab on a DVD I bought from ebay.
    And you think I am not suffering for my art?
    I've got to be honest and say the top of my head looks like a baboon's bottom because I spent too much time on the beach yesterday, so a bit of air con and taking in some Bolly was a bit of a relief.
    The Lion of Punjab posed quite a few questions about Indian culture which I still cannot grasp.
    If it is so obviously recognised that politics is so corrupt and that the 'ordinary' people are so down-trodden why is the subject only addressed head on in movies?
    Ok, film only imitates real life but I have seen so many movies with the same message that it seems inconceivable that there is not a will for change.
    The Lion Of Punjab is essentially a little man versus big man tale.
    In the little man corner is Avtaar (Dijit Dosanjh). He is illiterate but just happens to have the strength of Samson but also a pure view of the way society should be run.
    In the bad boys' corner is Deep Dhillon, the villager who has risen to the top of politics by evil means.
    The two come up against each other because Avtaar is demanding action to stop a local chemical works pumping poison into his village's water supply.
    He and two villagers (Pooja Tandon and Gurpreet Guggi) go to Chandigarh where an election is just about to take place.
    Dhillon plas Balwant Rai, the corrupt politician who is trying to fix the election and get his own man to win.
    His is backed by a gang of murdering thugs.
    As said, the message of The Lion of Punjab is crystal clear.
    What is most surprising is the levels of bloodshed. It seems obvious that the gangsters would kill to get their way but the good guys show no mercy in their retribution.
    Alongside a serious movie there is a tug-of-love going on over our hero. The demure Tandon is up against the startlingly pretty and overtly sexual Jividha Astha.
    It is not the first time this year that I've been shocked that proclamations about God in Indian movies come hand in hand with killings and women wearing skirts that are so short they might as well not be there.
    I know that by western standards the flashing of Astha's pants would have seemed very tame but, trust me, it seems odd in this setting.
    Nevertheless, Guddu Dhanoa's debut film has bite and some great songs (I'm humming the title tune as I write) and I would give it 7.5/10.
    And it also marks a encouraging first lead role for Dosanjh, the well-known Punjabi singer.

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257. The Lion Of Punjab

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