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Director : Starring :
Pankaj Kapoor, Supriya Pathak, K K Raina, Daya Shanker Pandey, Hrishita Bhatt
By Martin D'Souza, Bollywood Trade News Network
In the end the credit reads, “This film is a tribute to those who lost their lives in communal violence. May better sense prevail.”
DHARM teaches. It does not preach. That’s why this movie is a must-see. It’s a low-budget film with no glamorous star cast. But one man, Pankaj Kapur, is enough to portray what millions of Indians feel, in the wake of the communal riots that ripped the country. If BLACK FRIDAY dared to show the truth, DHARM exposes the truth about religion. That it’s not about cast or creed; it’s not about politics or power. It’s about HUMANITY!
Pankaj Kapur as a devout Hindu Brahmin Priest who is looked upon by his community, too, feels that religion is all about cast and creed. But one incident changes all that. Karthik, who is actually a Muslim child, is brought into his home by his daughter. Reluctant at first, because he does not know which caste the infant is from, he later relents and allows him to grow up as his son. A few years later, his actual mother comes to take him home and that’s when things change.
Brilliant photography, a very good sound track and top class performance from Pankaj Kapur, ably supported by Supriya Pathak as his wife, is what keeps the viewer glued to his seat. Very simply, the director unfolds his vision of religion. Pankaj as the devout Priest; as the man who falls in love with the child; and as the one who has to be the torchbearer of his faith by letting Karthik go and then cleansing his home of all his belongings with chanting and praying is class personified. Then, an enlightened Pankaj as the one who stands amidst the bloodbath and challenges his followers who attack with swords and fire-torches and preaches amidst hatred is another force. Eyes drop, swords fall to the ground, as he calls out to Karthik in the locality they have come to burn, and kill, and walks hand-in-hand with the Muslim child.
This film has gone to Cannes, I know I would be jumping the gun, but it stands a good chance at the Oscars as India’s entry!
I would recommend this film for every youngster. In fact, schools should put up a circular urging their students to see this movie. Education begins at the grassroots. Let’s teach the future of our nation, that religion is all about humanity. That to love one another as God loves us is the biggest act of faith.