BollywoodSARGAM News Service
Karachi, 5th Oct 2007 (BSNS)
Larki Punjaban (Urdu: ᚘی äÌÇÈä, lit Punjabi Girl) is a 2003 Pakistani film directed by Syed Noor and starring Saima, Shamyl Khan and Babar Ali.
The film's music was scored by the well-regarded composer Zain, who had given a hit soundtrack earlier for Khoey Ho Tum Kahan. The film stirred some controversy in Britain over its portrayal of the Sikh faith, but the furor died down soon after Larki Punjaban was released. The film managed a decent run at most theaters in Pakistan and abroad.
The movie's plot revolved around the romance and the following tribulations between a Sikh girl (Saima) and a Pakistani man. Babar Ali's character has negative shades to it.
In August 1947 in what was the final cynical act of a collapsing empire, the British left India divided. Arbitrary lines were drawn on the map of India, dividing not only the country but also provinces, in particular Punjab. The results of partition were catastrophic. All in the name of religion and nationalism people who had lived together in relative harmony for centuries committed mindless acts of violence against each other. All the blood spilt could not extinguish the fire of hate burning in their hearts, resulting in over one million, Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus being butchered to death. An estimated 75,000 women were raped and over twelve million people were uprooted, forced to move, Hindus and Sikhs to India and Muslims to Pakistan.
During these troubled times, there were select few who did not give in to the acts of barbarism around them. One such person was a young Muslim man who refused to participate in the fires of hate and destruction burning around him. During the hostilities he found a young Sikh girl who had been separated from her family. Risking the anger of the mobs, he brought her home and offered her sanctuary. As the fires of hate began to burn out, families began to come to terms with their loss of the loved ones on both sides. Those who could not be found were presumed dead. The young girl was touched by the way he had protected her against the ruthless mobs, risking his own life. They fell in love. She converted to Islam and they married.
Some 50 years on, when she was a grandmother, she had only one wish left, to meet her family, which had migrated to India, before she passed away. She made enquires and discovered that her family had migrated to Chandigarh, India. She wanted to invite her family to Pakistan but knew that they would disown her if they discovered that she had converted to Islam. She contacted her sister, pretending to be a long lost Muslim friend and invited her and the family to travel to Lahore for religious pilgrimage to 'Nankana Sahib' (A highly revered Sikh Temple, where millions of Sikhs travel to every year).
Her family travelled over to Lahore, the sisters lived together as friends, not knowing about their real relationship. During their stay as the guests of the Muslim family, history began to repeat itself. Preetam, daughter of the visiting Sikh family started to get friendly with Shamil Khan, the son of the host Muslim family. They have a common interest, both are studying computer programming. When the Sikh family discovered that a relationship was blossoming, they quickly returned to Chandrigarh. However, the young couple kept in touch on the telephone and the Internet and their love for each other grew.
They both realized that the cruel customs, the inbred hate amongst their elders and religious differences would never let them be together. They realized that to share their lives and dreams together, they would have to be away from their elders who had kept the hate for each other smouldering in their hearts for the last 50 years. Physically they were kept apart by their families and the vast distance between them, but their hearts were together as their love for each other grew even stronger.
Preetam's family realizing the potential problems send her off to England to marry her fiancée. Shamil is heart broken at suddenly losing contact with Preetam. Shamil's family watching his despair persuade him to travel to England to complete his education, as he had planned, before he had met Preetam, hoping that he will forget about her when he is in a new country. Would the lovers meet or would Preetam be forced into marrying her fiancée?
As fate would have it, Shamil sees Preetam in London, only few days before she is due to marry, what can they do? run away together and face the wrath of their families ? Or accept the decision of their elders and sacrifice their love for each other? Can their love which never recognised, religious or cultural barriers survive the pressures of culture, tradition, inbred hatred and religion of their elders? As in fables, will love conquer all or will the harsh realities of life suffocate the young lovers into submission?
44 weeks (Metropole 17) in cinemas. The film was an average rated film
About the Producer
Afzal M. Khan
Afzal M. Khan is producing Larki Punjaban for his UK based production company, Paragon Pictures International. The company is also producing two movies in India. He is also a director of the Sister Company Paragon Pictures (Pvt.) Ltd. in Mumbai, India.
Speaking about the high budget for the movie: " The director, Syed Noor, provisionally gave me a budget of Rs 5 Crore. I told him not to compromise on the quality even if we have to exceed the provisional budget. I am happy that he has kept production values as high as possible. The final budget is likely to reach Rs 7 Crore, given our promotional and distribution plans for the movie. I am very pleased with the dedication of the director, Syed Noor, the artists and the crew to this project"
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