The excitement inside the bus going to Wagah border from Amritsar on August 14 is palpable. The bus ride earlier from Delhi has been long, but no one’s showing signs of tiredness. The enthusiasm is to witness the historic parade by BSF (Border Security Force) jawans and the famous midnight candle march at the border on the eve of the Independence Day.
The excitement is also about the promo of Kya Dilli Kya Lahore, a film on the futility of war, being unveiled there. The film, mentored and narrated by poet-lyricist Gulzar, is unveiled after the symbolic flag-lowering ceremony by both India and Pakistan in the evening. The Indian side of the border has giant posters of the movie, along with innumerable people who have turned up to watch the ceremony. The cast of the film — Manu Rishi, Raj Zuthsi and Vishwajeet Pradhan – are present for the unveiling, along with Pakistani band, Raga Boyz, who have sung for the film.
Later in the night, the star cast participates in the candlelight peace march. “I’m thankful to the BSF and others who gave us the permission to unveil our film at ground zero,” says producer Karan Arora.
The film, loosely based on Oscar-winning film, No Man’s Land (2001), and Toba Tek Singh, a short story by Saadat Hasan Manto, took two years to find the right cast. Vijay Raaz, who plays a Pakistani soldier in the film, says, “We have grown up on Partition stories, which deeply influenced me. So, naturally, I wanted to do the film.” The film, he further adds, comes with the message that humanity is bigger than any border, country or religion.
Having seen the teaser, we can say that it’s not your regular Bollywood extravaganza, but a simple and honest film with an inspiring message.
About the film
A light-hearted drama set in the post-Independence era, a few months after the Partition. Set in 1948, a crossfire in an isolated stretch of the Indo-Pak border leaves only two soldiers alive. One is an Indian soldier of Pakistani origin while the other is a Pakistani soldier of Indian origin. An ironic story of pride and survival begins when they bump into each other. And amidst continuous exchange of bullets, altercations and murkier situations, it evolves into a journey of human connection. The film is slated to release in November this year.
‘People in Pakistan are very warm towards Indians, and vice versa’
What I liked about the film is that it is not political, but talks about peace. Lakeerein hain to rehne do, kisi ne rooth kar gusse mein shayad kheech di thi. Aao banaye ise paala aur kabaddi khelein (Let the lines be, someone drew them in a moment of rage. Let’s play kabaddi on them) – this is the gist of the film. And what better than an event at the border with people from both countries present? I don't know if things will change by just doing an event, but I believe both countries must see a film like this to remember what we have forgotten.
People in Pakistan are very warm towards Indians, and vice versa. If you visit Lahore and tell them you’re from India, they don’t charge you for sweets and talk to you warmly. In Delhi too, you will see people from Pakistan bonding with shop owners and other people.