Verdict: Another Amrinder-Sargun-Amberdeep film that will not disappoint you.
When the partition of India happened in 1947, Punjab was the province which was most impacted. The partition was based on district-wise Hindu and Muslim majorities and it displaced millions of people. Since the partition, communal and political tensions are a common part of Indo-Pak border villages. Amberdeep Singh’s Lahoriye does not depict riots, mayhem, and human sufferings instead portrays love between two friends and two couples of these nations. During these harsh times between two warring nations, Lahoriye shouts love and hope. And that’s where the movie scores.
Kikkar Singh (Amrinder Gill) gets a contract to plow land near the Indo-Pak border in Fazilka. He falls in love with Ameera who lives in Punjab, Pakistan. Kikkar decides to go to Pakistan and try his luck. Once he reaches there, Ameera’s brother Najeeb Khan (Yuvraj Hans) helps the couple to unite. Ameera and Kikkar’s parents agree to their marriage. But when Kikkar goes back to Pakistan with his family to get married, the different religions, cultures and political pressures make the marriage a herculean task for the young couple.
Recreating history on celluloid can be as difficult as catching a whale in the deep ocean. The ambiance in the initial reels of Lahoriye is so life-like that the viewer is immediately transported to the pre-independence era when the seeds of partition were sown. All the characters seem straight out of life. The Hindu-Muslim divide, the helplessness of aged people of not being able to go back to their original homes, the bond between the lead couple, right to the traditions, rituals, and beliefs of that epoch; seldom has the relationship between characters of India and Pakistan been depicted with such precision.
Amberdeep Singh writes and directs a difficult story for his big screen debut. Fortunately, he gets it right on almost all fronts, barring a few aspects. With ease, he succeeds in making the viewer believe that love can happen between two people who have never spoken to each other. The protagonists just see each other from a fair distance at the border and not once do you feel that love is being forced into the story. Although the film is about love between a Sikh boy from India and a Muslim girl from Pakistan, not once does the narrative take a stand against any community or religion. Also, thankfully, there's no Pak bashing this time around. Lahoriye proves that not only is Amberdeep an accomplished story writer, but also an exceptional storyteller. The climax scene where the grandfather from Pakistan visits his Haveli and reunites with his friend from India after 70 years is sensitively executed and shows the exuberance of this young director.
Lahoriye slips intermittently during the first half when not much is happening in the story and deleting a few sequences would only sharpen the narrative. Also, the pace of the film drops before the pre-climax, when the marriage ceremony is about to get solemnized. However, the climax, the culmination of the saga, is the best part of the enterprise. The finale is apt and emotional by nature and perfect in the context of the story.
Performance-wise, Lahoriye rests on two strong shoulders, Amrinder Gill and Sargun Mehta. The couple has earlier starred together in immensely likable films like Angrej and Love Punjab. Although, as a film, Lahoriye is not at par with their earlier works together, their performances are supreme. Amrinder Gill is outstanding in a role that seems tailor-made for him. He depicts the role of Kikkar Singh with utmost simplicity and sincerity. Sargun transforms into Ameera with such correctness that it's impossible to believe that it's an actress portraying a part. She is absolutely believable as a Pakistani girl. Yuvraj Hans is first-rate, making you realize that here's a reservoir of talent that needs to be tapped. Nimrat Khaira makes a decent debut and delivers a controlled, subdued and likable performance.
Music (Jatinder Shah) is mellifluous; it gels well with the theme of the movie. 'Akhar' is the pick of the lot, more so because of its rich lyrical value. ‘Paani Ravi da’ is infectious. Cinematography (Sandeep Patil) is top notch.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
On the whole, Lahoriye caters more to the audience who believe in the concept of ‘love knows no boundaries’. Watch it for the entertaining performance of Amrinder Gill and sublime act of Sargun Mehta. Despite the shortcomings, the fact cannot be denied that Lahoriye is a film worth watching!
-By Gurlove Singh