Serious Political Suspense Thriller, that is what Dharti is and I don’t think I’m mistaken while saying that this is the first time a Punjabi film has fallen into this category. Its a pleasing thought that such a film has been made and on such a large scale. In more than normal way this shall be considered a risk on the part of producers to grab upon such a theme. It is a bold step in Punjabi Industry and it signifies the trust of big production houses in the audience of Punjab that they are mature enough to accept a movie like this. However the film was promoted as something largely associated with Air Force, but it didn’t have much to do with that. It’s just that Jimmy Shergill’s background comes from Air Force as he is the Squadron leader. Apart from that he is mostly wearing his Air Force uniform and wears Aviators. Nothing more than that. This was a letdown as I was hoping it to be a patriotic film on national level. In truth the film is largely based on politics in Punjab.
Won’t reveal the story as it’s crucial to keep the suspense of the film. But let it be said that the plot is quite complex and a lot of characters are involved in the film. There are a lot of twists and turns in the film and the story goes here and there quite often. Its not a perfect plot, but not a bad one either. There is too much to say in the film, a lot indeed and it’s a long story, perhaps that’s exactly why there are very few tracks. You only get to see three proper tracks in the film, rest of them are used in background score.
There is no comedy in the film i.e. no specific character does any comedy in the film and whatever jokes and punches are there, they come from the main lead itself. This has to be praised as Dharti is a serious film and it deserved to be kept serious.
The film succeeds in shocking the audience in number of sequences and the accident in the climax is the real shocker. The makeup and setup of a Pajero rammed into a truck and those steel rods penetrating; I can only imagine how much effort must have gone into it.
In acting department, there are no complaints. The film totally belongs to Jimmy Shergill and Rahul Dev. Rahul Dev speaks in such a menial way that it totally blows you over, great dialog delivery which hasn’t been seen in Punjabi cinema for a long time. Very serious acting and the same goes for Jimmy. Jimmy has played the role of a serious Air Force officer and he never flinches from his character. He stays the serious guy and his dialogs pertain to the same. The scenes where Rahul dev and Jimmy clash together are the best viewing experience.
Binnu Dhillon has done well again in a villainous role. Binnu Dhillon hails from the theater backgorund and it clearly shows on screen. Prem Chopra has done a perfect role, he mixes into the act so flawlessly that you forget that this is the same Prem Chopra of the yesteryears. Same goes for Ranvijay, although his character doesn’t develop fully in the film, his Punjabi accent is pure and you forget that it’s the Ranvijay of the MTV Roadies you are seeing. However, I would say that Ranvijay has been wasted in the film, he could have added more, but it really can’t be blamed as the plot of the film was so twisted, there wasn’t much room for him to grow his character. The films’ story was pivotal in the film and no one else got the preference above that.
Prem Chopra in Dharti
The greatest factor and the proud feeling was that the Punjabi spoken in the film is pure. Apart from a few words like “ped” (which should have been drakhat in Punjabi) it’s easily forgiven. It’s a great feeling to see such names as Rahul Dev, Prem Chopra and Ranvijay speaking in pure Punjabi accents and how deeply enrooted they all are in our beloved language Punjabi.
There wasn’t much to do for the female leads in the film. Collectively Japji Khehra and Surveen Chawla didn’t have more than 10 scenes in the film. They should have been avoided completely just as the comedy lead has been avoided. As of now their roles are half cooked in the film. Despite their good acting, there wasn’t much to do for them in the political storyline of the film. We should note that this film was plot driven and such films deserve character roles as Binnu Dhillon, Rahul Dev and Jimmy. There is no room for romance in such films and if you remove romance from such films, it actually enhances the film.
Technically, there were blemishes this time. Normally Navaniat ’s films have a grace and beauty of their own as seen in TMKR and MKR. But dharti lacked that finishing.. that color tone, that beauty… Camera was shacky, especially in the opening sequence where the title track Dharti plays. Most importantly whenever there is a close up of Jimmy wearing Ray-Ban sun glasses, you can always see the camera crew in the reflective glass of the Ray Bans. This should have been avoided.
The plot of the film reigns supreme, it’s all about the storyline and the twists and turns of the political mumbo jumbo that goes around. It really is a political suspense thriller. But the genre hasn’t been exploited fully and as attention diverts towards lots of other factors, the film sometimes becomes a bit too fast to grab upon. The dubbing could have been better as at times characters’ lips do not sync with their lip movements.
But all in all, a great attempt and a movie worth watching. A few more movies from Navaniat Singh and he will be making films to compete with Hindi Cinema. In fact probably better than Hindi Films. Dharti is a very different kind of movie and it has substance, lets see how the public takes on a political motive.