I got back to watching movies after quite some time. I want to see ‘Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi’ but the movie seems to elude me big time! So, the Sunday afternoon was spent watching ‘Ramchand Pakistani’. To be honest, I was not too keen to watch the movie as was the case with ‘Khuda Ke Liye’. But what enticed me was the fact that the movie was Pakistani and therefore would help me in my Urdu lessons! :D The movie is about an eight year old Pakistani boy Ramchand who inadvertently crosses the border and wanders into Indian territory. The boy’s worried father follows him and both are arrested by Indian officers.
What follows is little Ramchand’s struggle to cope up with the trauma of forced separation from his mother and the fact that he is being held prisoner with his father in an enemy country. It portrays a family that is at the bottom of a very discriminatory religious and social ladder and the irony is compounded by the acrimonious political relations between India and Pakistan. Worse, both the countries are tantalisingly on the brink of war following the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2002. On the other hand, Ramchand’s devastated mother tries to wage a solitary struggle for survival.
The film also makes some glaring error/stereotypes when it comes to Indians. A seemingly educated Police Officer refuses to touch Ramchand upon learning that he is an untouchable. The very promiscuous Officer then assumes the role of Ramchand’s mother in jail. With her ridiculously low necked Police Uniform, she perfectly depicts the depraved Indian Woman for the conservative Pakistani audience. Curiously, the Bhuj/Kutch police speak Hindi in a very prominent Bambaiyya accent. It is so prominent that even I (A Bombayite) found it to be very heavy. Of course, it is another stereotype that Indians are poor speakers of the language.
The Jail life is shown as a vacation and is fun. Perhaps this was deliberate by the director. She focuses more on the Human relations and the bonding between Ramchand and his father, the promiscuous Warden and the fellow prisoners and police men. Some scenes are truly poignant. Like the scene where Ramchand’s father teaches him to ride a bicycle or the one where Ramchand is released. The Father plays his role to perfection and one actually feels sorry for the Pakistanis languishing in Indian jails. Nandita Das does justice to her role as well, but it is the young Ramchand who steals the show. His big, button-like eyes, childish tantrums bring out the kindest in you.
My Advice : Ignore the stereotypes, they are pretty harmless and watch the movie for Ramchand and his father..!