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A Tale of Punjab
IMDB Rating: 7.2/10 from N/A votes
Release: 01 May 2015 /

A Tale of Punjab

Genre: Drama
Director: Jatinder Mauhar,
Stars:
Synopsis: Qissa Panjab a film that revolves around the lives of its six main protagonists. The lives of these six characters, fighting their circumstances takes a significant turn when their stories ...

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Critic Reviews


There are many positives associated with this project in terms of its relation with the present alarming state of Punjab, the team's noble intentions and their efforts breaking the set routine pattern of 'Punjabi Cinema' at this particular moment. So first of all would like to congratulate the makers for finding the courage to invest their time and money both in such crucial experimental (regional) project having something significant to convey to the youth of Punjab caught in the deadly web of drug mafia since the last decade. Admitting the truth, I seriously wished to support and applaud the film wholeheartedly due to the message it gives, representing the harsh ground reality of the state (witnessed personally). But the overall execution of the concept doesn't allow me to praise it as loudly as I wished, beyond a specific point.

Following the western pattern of '4-5 different stories amalgamating towards an open climax' (seen in many foreign classics and few recent Indian films too), QISSA PANJAB revolves around 6 individual characters fighting with their own problems of life ranging from family issues, local crimes, college fights and career struggles to the foreign intrusion in the drug trade involving the innocent youngsters. The director opens too many ends together in the initial 30 minutes and then isn't able to manage them all in a justified manner in the limited duration of less than 2 hours. As a result, many questions remains unanswered and many characters remain underdeveloped unable to reach out to the viewers as they were supposed to.

Besides, the overall treatment of the subject remains too slow and dark following a forced experimental path using cinematography as a tool to give it a more 'artistic' feel. In the first half the film uses almost negligible background score and in the next has some average composing not helping the film as required. No doubt all the talented actors in the cast try to give their best in the assigned roles such as Dheeraj Kumar as the folk singer, Kul Sindhu as the small time dancer, Jagjeet Sandhu as the petty thief and Harshjot Kaur as the concerned sister rendering some noticeable dialogues. But no actor can ever deliver a worth remembering performance in a film, if his or her character is neither well defined on the paper nor well presented on the screen with a proper buildup providing the much needed support.

Musically QISSA PUNJAB scores with its melodious songs intelligently incorporated in the film having a strong traditional base like Jinde Meriye, Boliyan and Rut Pyar Di. Plus the soundtrack also includes a well written Gurdas Mann track titled Rog. But a mostly saturated colour scheme preferred in its DI just to give it an off-beat look actually doesn't help, taking the film further away from the general viewers.

Coming back to the weak characterizations, director Jatinder Mauhar introduces each and every character in the film with an impressive sequence but that impression doesn't continue later in their other scenes reducing the overall impact of the characters as well as the film. For instance its quite exciting to see how the folk singer walks on to the stage after a few drinks cursing his own fate as the organizer is ready to pay only half the amount, but the same excitement isn't there anywhere in the film post these initial moments.

Explaining the problem with QISSA PANJAB in more details as a concerning viewer/supporter of Punjabi Cinema, it all depends upon how well we are able to define our target audience for whom a certain project is being planned and invested in. Making it more specific, there are two kinds of end-users or final consumers a thoughtful director should have in mind (in marketing terms). One is the thinking or festival audience which is so less in number that it can rarely result in any major box office success to be brutally honest. And second are the general viewers who are simply coming to the theaters for their three hours of entertainment, capable of turning any kind of enjoyable film into a blockbuster. Now in case you are planning a film with a strong social message, then you have to be very clear about the kind of viewers you are looking for. In other words, whether its only the thinking audience or the common man you wish to show your film to.

Giving a known example, it's perfectly fine if a director intentionally makes his film for only the 'thinking and festival' audience, like Gurvinder Singh's "Anhey Ghodey Da Daan" that won several honours all over the world but couldn't do anything in the theaters even when it was widely publicized after winning a national award. And its equally fine when a director wishes to make a film like "Sardar Ji" or "Jatt James Bond" too, simply focusing at the general public providing them the desired entertainment. In both these cases the target audience is pretty clear in the mind of director as it should be.

However the problem arises, when one wishes to cater both these kind of audiences together with a film talking about some serious social issue, which remains one of the most difficult task in the present times, when the viewership is completely different from what it used to be a couple of decades back. And this confusion over its target audience only is exactly the problem with QISSA PANJAB that struggles to impress either of the two completely, generating an average kind of impact that isn't able to make any major ripples.

In short, yes QISSA PANJAB isn't any artistic milestone of Punjabi Cinema lacking that magnetic pull. Yet it's indeed a well- intentioned product made by a talented team that is just close to deliver a classic gem. So would be certainly looking forward to their next project with much bigger hopes.

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