A Well Intentioned Effort
By MovieTalkies.com, 29 August 2009
One wonders about the rationale behind making a film like 'Kisaan'. Sohail Khan's movie which has been directed by Puneet Sira, harks back generations ago when we had Hindi films about farmers being exploited and duped by city slickers. Times have changed and even if the situation of the farmer in our country has not really changed much, there are a lot more complications and issues which have cropped up in the ensuing years. So in a sense, it does seem rather shortsighted on the part of the makers to make a film which looks more like a replica of the earlier times than a fresh contemporary approach. The film is well intentioned effort on the plight of farmers, but it is riddled with clichés and only leaves one with a feeling of been there, done that. Of course! One has to also mention its superficial resemblance to Manoj Kumar's classic, 'Upkaar', 'Kisaan' also borrows the patriotic song, 'Mere Desh Ki Dharti', from 'Upkaar, only to bungle up the lyrics and the song, which seems such a shame.
There is no doubt about the fact that the farmer and rural concerns have absolutely disappeared from Hindi cinema. And in that sense, Kisaan is a creditable effort. But surely Sohail and Sira could have plotted something which was not so clichéd. If one goes by Hindi films, and this film in particular, all education, especially Western education is immoral and makes beasts out of men. If one goes by the logic of this movie, then all educated people are easily led astray, do not have a strong set of family values etc. Now come to the film: 'Kisaan' is the story of Dayal Singh (Jackie Shroff), who has two sons, Aman (Arbaaz Khan) and Jigar (Sohail Khan). Realising the perils of being uneducated, Dayal sends one of his sons, Aman to the city to get an education. He grows up to be a lawyer while Jigar stays back in the village due to a paucity of funds and tills the land. Sohan (Dalip Tahil) a businessman, starts buying land off the farmers, with the intention of building an industry on the premises. The village gets divided on this issue and so does Dayal's family. Jigar has the last word as he wrecks vengeance on all. Of course! in the end, Arbaaz has a change of heart and is reconciled with his father and brother.
The film is full of violence and only ends up portraying the Indian villager as being quite barbaric. The problem with this movie is that it does not try to move beyond clichés. But, yes, since it is such a rare subject, the film does manage to spark interest. And to give the director credit, he manages to handle some of the sequences quite well. For a director who has made films like 'Jai Veeru', this is definitely a far superior effort on the part of Sira. But he could have definitely stretched his imagination and made a more contemporary movie. The film's music has been composed by Daboo Malik and is pleasant without being outstanding. The cinematography has been well handled by Neelabh Kaul.
The film springs a surprise in the form of Jackie Shroff. The actor, who had almost disappeared from films, finally gets a role which he can dig into with relish. He makes the most of the role of Dayal, the farmer and delivers an outstanding performance as the ageing Sikh farmer. Sohail, as his son Jigar, seems to be all over the movie. He seems to have improved with every outing and delivers a decent performance. Arbaaz as the slick city lawyer is just about okay. Dia Mirza and Nauheed Cyrusi have little to do and so hardly make any effort. Dalip Tahil essays a role which he has done many times before, hence he is quite at ease.
Without venturing into the territory of comparing 'Kisaan' to 'Upkaar', one can safely say that it is a good effort by Puneet Sira and Sohail Khan. It is heartening to know that the great Indian village has not fallen out of Bollywood's map. But one would have preferred a little more originality in terms of writing and execution.