National-award winning movie ‘Pinjar’ is a heart-wrenching yet heartwarming tale about Hindu-Muslim problems during the partition of India. The film is based on a Punjabi novel of the same name, written by Amrita Pritam. ‘Pinjar’ or its literal translation, ‘The Cage’ deals with the circle of events in young Puro’s –majestically played by Urmila Matondkar- life which traps her in an inescapable cage, set in the time of the partition.
The tyranny of the Hindu-Muslim conflict is conveyed through scenes of violence such burning down houses, whipping, etc. which are all geared towards the Muslims as the Hindus were their superiors in property ownership. From then on the Muslims began to generate friction against the Hindus for their unruly behavior and mistreatment. Puro is one such Hindu woman who is made a victim of the Muslim revolt against the Hindu community when a mysterious man named Rashid – played by Manoj Bajpayee- kidnaps her.
The connection that links Puro and Rashid’s lives dates back to the days of Muslim oppression, and while Rashid is given the task to execute Puro, he cannot because he is drawn to her. The next sets of incidents are shocking as they either test the strength of their relationship to lead it to its termination, but in the end we always have a choice and sometimes these difficult choices can lead to beautiful destinations – similar to the decision Puro had to make on choosing between Rashid, whom she had fallen in love during the long course of her kidnap; and her fiancée, whom she was betrothed to before her kidnap.
Matondkar and Bajpayee have electrifying chemistry that works extremely well, giving their roles justice in every manner. They breathe into their roles as if they were actually lovers in the backdrop of a bloody political conflict, and this makes them more convincing as Puro, the fierce Hindu girl, and Rashid as the kind, caring kidnapper. The other actors play their roles well too, but it is these two protagonists who outshine everyone else.
The movie does have its share of drama and romance, complemented by sheer violence of the historical times, but in the end the moral of the story shows us that it is love that conquers over religion. This is a very important message the film displays as there is nothing that can triumph religion other than the love we share for the ones whom we care about. Religion is just a hazy line strong enough to divide us all, but love is a stronger entity that is universal and can bind us together when all hope is lost.