Garm Hava

Brilliant, haunting, agonising, searing portrayal of a muslim family in post partition India immediately after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 with communal tensions rearing its ugly head at every corner and threatening to tear the secular fabric apart. Very sensitive handling of a difficult subject by director M.S. Sathyu with brilliant performances by Balraj Sahni, Gita Siddharth among others. Balraj is a patriarch of a muslim family having their own shoe manufacturing business in Agra. Immediately after partition and post Gandhi’s assassination, things start turning bad for them in India, banks refuse to give loans, money lenders refuse to lend them money and slowly one by one they start leaving for Pakistan. But Balraj refuses to go placing his optimism on God who will take care of them. His daughter Gita Siddharth, playing one of her best roles ever, gets ditched twice, son Farooque Shaikh does not get a job despite being qualified and smart, his elder son leaves for Pakistan after being frustrated at in India, his elder brother and their family also leave for Pakistan and his son’s in-laws also make the train journey. . His factory is burned down, his house is surrendered to government, landlords refuse to rent them houses, despite all this anguish, still Balraj retains his optimism and faith on a secular India. The slow disintegration of his close family is beautifully brought out by Sathyu. But Sathyu does manage to leave an iota of hope, of peace, of faith in secularism, in the strength of India in the very last scene, which is quite brilliant. Absolutely breathtaking performances by Balraj Sahni and Gita Siddharth, sad that Balraj did not live to see its release. Such a timeless masterpiece.

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