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Director : Music : Lyrics : Starring :
Om Puri, Revathi, Sanjay Suri, Gul Panag
By Kshama Rao
In debutant director Ashwini Chaudhary's Dhoop, there is a scene in which actor Ganesh Yadav who plays a clerk in a government office asks Om Puri how much he can afford to pay up for the papers of the petrol pump allocated to his deceased son, an Indian army captain who laid down his life in the Kargil war, Puri says 'Nothing, maine mera beta desh ko diya hai' to which Yadav retorts, 'Desh ko diya hai na, mujhe kya diya hai?' and there in lies the tale.
Dhoop is not about the war but the internal battle that follows after the soldier dies, the battle his parents have to fight with the same government which pays a tribute to the deceased martyrs but is absolutely apathetic. Chaudhary focuses on one such real-life case post-Kargil about a young captain who laid down his life for his country and how his old parents have to run form pillar to post to keep the memory of their dead son alive in the form of a petrol pump which the government has so magnanimously given away!
Suresh Kapoor and Savita (Om Puri and Revathi) are a college professor and librarian respectively. Their only son Rohit (Sanjay Suri) is a captain in the army. Engaged to be married to Piyu (Gul Panag) Rohit leads from the front during the Kargil war and sacrifices his life. Even as the parents are coming to terms with the grief of losing their young son, the government honours their son's sacrifice by allotting a petrol pump in his name. While Savita is against the idea, Professor Kapoor thinks it's the only possible way to keep alive the memory of his brave son. Thus begins the journey of Kapoor and Piyu who get a taste of insensitive bureaucrats and government officials who think nothing before putting up demands for obscene amounts of money. But then Kapoor is made of tougher steel as he says, 'Agar mera beta desh ke liye apni jaan de sakta ha to usse aadhi himmat to mujh mein jogi'.
And all's well that ends well as the common man wins his battle when the old couple reach the PM's office and bring to book all the erring officials (law and order)! Kargil Heights, the petrol pump in the name of Captain Rohit Kapoor gets built and its due respect!
The film's highlights are the story, screenplay and the dialogues (Kumud Chaudhary and Sanjay Chauhan). The lines though theatrical at times still manage to bring a lump in your throat. Some of the scenes are well written and are simply outstanding.
Note especially the scene in the library in which the mother finally realises her husband is not to be blamed completely for their son's death. Also the scene in which the father gets some documents to the police station to prove that he is indeed Captain Rohit's father. The film reminds you of the Mahesh Bhatt drama Saaransh in which an old man had to actually plead and fight for his dead son's ashes!
The pace of Dhoop is slow but then it's not your usual action/masala flick. Lalit Sen's music, Nida fazli's lyrics and Jagjit Singh's pathos-filled voice only elevate the mood and the tone of the film. And last but not the least, the performances. Newcomer Gul Panag tries her sincere best while Suri is endearing but the film belongs completely to Professor Kapoor and Savita that's Puri and Revathi. The two veterans bring such dignity and character to their roles that it's hard to imagine anybody else playing them. Puri, especially makes the upright, warm and sensitive Professor Kapoor a man of immense strength and character.
Dhoop certainly merits a watch after all for how long can you only watch silly fantasies in foreign locations with larger than life, cardboard characters!