Kya Dilli Kya Lahore Movie Review: Delivers Well, Though With Limitations
When talented actors, who have been trapped in a comic image for over so many years, get to do something different, they manage to 'wow', and how! This is what Sanjay Mishra did a few weeks back with Aankhon Dekhi. And now with Kya Dilli Kya Lahore, Vijay Raaz proves again that he is not just a fantastic actor but also a competent director. He may not have hit a six as a filmmaker but still makes a good debut by coming up with a sensitive tale, when (given his roles over the years) he could have easily played safe by making an out and out comic entertainer.
Reminiscing of Oscar winner No Man's Land, the film is about an Indian (Manu Rishi) and Pakistani (Vijay Raaz) finding each other on an Indian land while the war is on. Expectedly, tempers soar and a mini-battle between them ensues too. However, as their confrontation settles down, it is time for some banter to kick-start. While to begin with it is in a confrontation mode, there is a light hearted twist to the tale as well, which further engages the audience.
In his trademark humorous tone, Raaz does well in stepping up along with Manu to convey a lot of points as well as a few historic facts without making it all appear too overbearing. Nehru and Jinnah are talked about in the same breath as well as 'Lahore ki galiyan' and 'Laal Qile ke paas waali dukaan'. You do fall for the nostalgic tales being shared and though it seems a rather 'made up' act when from being natural, the conversations turns into poetic (it is clear that Gulzar comes into play here), you still go with the flow as you are well aware that the intent is right.
However, once the film makes its point, the post interval portions tend to lose the kind of spontaneity that had made the initial portions much more engaging. Arrival of Raj Zutshi on the scene is expected to bring on some twists in the tale and the script provides that support too. But then his usual hammy act disturbs the kind of flow that Kya Dilli Kya Lahore had enjoyed till this point, as a result of which the film begins to drag.
Yes, Raaz and Manu do try to pep the proceedings but then there isn't much left to be told, as a result of which when the fourth person (and the only other character) Vishwajit Pradhan enters the scene, you just wish that the film wraps up soon. There is a bit of a shock element that comes towards the end and that goes quite well with the plot and the context of the film. Still, you do wish if the film could have been a lot more grip with some added meat, especially in the second half, as the stage had been set quite well by Raaz.
The film is also pulled back a little by its stage and setting since it is just one location where the entire 100 minutes of the film have been set. Of course this was the core requirement of the film as well due to which Kya Dilli Kya Lahore was required to deliver its best, though with its own limitations. Well, it does show some glimpses of brilliance though occasionally it does take a dip or two as well.
Amongst performers, both Vijay Raaz and Manu Rishi are excellent and complement each other really well. Within first 10 minutes of the film itself, you see them as a Pakistani and Indian soldier with their varied background. In fact you do root for them all through and indeed wish that become 'jigri dost' instead of being cross border enemies.
Just to have managed to bring that aspect so well on screen, Vijay Raaz deserves a pat on the back for his debut as a director.