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No Man's Land

movie-reviews Updated: Aug 07, 2010 00:29 IST

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No Man's Land
Shemaroo/UTV, Rs 349
: ****

This 2001 Oscar winner directed by Danis Tanovic is a tragi-comedy nuanced in the manner of Saadat Hasan Manto's Dog of Titwal.

Two young soldiers — Ciki from the ragtag Bosnian 'civilian' army and Nino from the opposing Serbian camp — happen to find themselves injured in the no man's land in the middle.

The greenhorns, unblooded yet in the extreme oddities of war, are getting strafed from both sides. Complicating matters is their 'ditch-mate', another injured Bosnian who has been placed gently on a mine. After trading insults at gunpoint, Nino and Ciki perform a danse macabre waving their white vests to attract UN peacekeepers.

And a grand confusion ensues on who will save the stranded trio and how. A TV reporter butts in and escalates matters with international coverage. The irony is segued unobtrusively — a soldier on the Bosnian frontline reading a newspaper and moaning about deaths in Rwanda, or a UN squad finding itself leaderless because everyone else is busy at a media relations seminar in Geneva.

The tone is defined by Ciki's T-shirt, which sports a large print of the Rolling Stones's black-and-red tongue.

You never know whether the tongue is stuck out to lick or to mock.