Film Review: Lion of Punjab

Movie Review | Cast And Crew

Diljit Dosanjh, Sonam Bajwa

Lion of Punjab (LoP) is simply an entertaining Bollywood kind of masala movie. A lot of entertainment comes from cheap glamour and the not-so-real action. But a good story, which gives a simple message again far from reality. It does not add any milestone in Punjabi cinema and is just a one-time watch, but it may establish Diljit as an actor because he has delivered his best.

The story starts with an action scene full of suspense when illiterate Avtar (Diljit) fights with his village friends to stop them from blasting a factory producing hazardous chemicals that are polluting the only drinking water source. By stopping them he becomes a hero and a victim at the same time. He is appointed as the leader of the team that will go to the state capital (Chandigarh) to meet the minister from their constituency and tell him about the situation.

They will carry an application through which villagers have requested the minister to shut down the erring factory to save the lives of his people who have voted for him to make him win and be a minister. Diljit’s childhood friend Simran (Pooja Tondon), with whom he keeps quarrelling all the time loves him by heart and her brother (Gurpreet Ghuggi) accompanies him.

In the city, he gets into the trap of local gunda Babbar and allies. There he meets glamorous Jassi (Jividha) and falls in love with her. Occurrences of odd incidents unfold the reality and force him to fight with the system to complete his noble mission.

It reminds me of Sunny Deol’s Ghatak. In this high drama Bollywood flick, innocent villager Sunny Deol comes to the city for the treatment of his father Amrish Puri and gets trapped in the net of local Gundas. Then he fights for the self-respect of Bauji and wins at last. Similarly, in this film, it is Diljit, who comes for the treatment of the problems of his village and gets trapped in the web of politician-gangster nexus.

Diljit has done a commendable job in his debutant movie. He delivered the dialogue with ease and looked confident in front of the camera. He is equally confident in action, comic, emotional and romantic scenes.

Pooja Tondon fails to express the feelings of a village girl. She has no command over language except in the last emotional scene, when she expresses her love. On the contrary, Jividha looks more confident even in her odd costumes. Her dialogue delivery is just passable.

Deep Dhillon is again top-notch in his evil politician’s character. After playing many nobleman characters in his previous ventures, Dhillon played a negative character after such a long time. He gets into the shoes of Balwant Rai and provokes us to hate him infinitely.

Yaad Grewal also fits into the gangster’s character and gives his best expression to scare the common man. Vindu Dara Singh is a surprise package in the film. The director has cashed his madman’s image established during Big Boss. He justifies his role and fits well into the role of Inspector Balbir Singh.

Guggi again excels in his comic character but does not flourish fully compared to his previous performances. Bhotu Shah, in his pet Bihari character, enters by cracking jokes but finally becomes monotonous and fails to please the audience. Vivek Shouk perfectly enacts a small but memorable role. Other supporting actors also suit in their roles.

LoP is the kind of story, which can be made in any Indian language. It will naturally be related to the region of that language without any extra effort. It seems to be more of a Bollywood flick instead of an original Punjabi film.

It talks about the politician-industrialist nexus that promotes corruption and pollution in India Including Punjab. This corrupt system becomes the cause of threat to the lives of common men. Guddu Dhanoa handles the story in his popular manner and succeeds in exploiting maximum from his actors, but fails to command the right language in many places.

There are many blunders in the film, but the major is one when in the pre-climax scene after ramming into the police barricade Diljit opens the back door of the ambulance and cops open fire. How can it be possible that only politician Babbar got shot leaving other passengers unharmed? Though Diljit pushes Babbar in front of the bullets others are also openly exposed to guns. Were others wearing bulletproof jackets or were the cops targeting Babbar only. Secondly, to put masala in the film Guddu used all the cheap glamorous scenes, which look vulgar and forced.

Music miserably fails and has no concern with the story at all. All the songs are patched forcibly and add unnecessary length to the screenplay except the title song. Only the ‘Lakk 28’ song raises the expectations due to its beats but fails to fulfil them on screen due to forced penetration. All the lyrics are meaningless and add no worth to the music. In the effort to make popular music and lyrics Anand Raj Anand failed to pull the audience to the ticket window. Music has played a negative role in the promotion of LoP.

Santosh Dhanoa’s story is good but Sanyanshu Gupta’s screenplay is faulty and drags at places. It could be edited to cut the length. The art and locations are pathetic. The cinematography is just okay and needs more sharpness and clarity. Ram Shetty’s action is up to mark though it looks artificial at places. Choreography is also stereotyped, though Diljit danced well in a few shots. Dialogues are good enough, but a little more effort could have made them memorable.

Final word, LoP is simply another Bollywood masala film, which tries to touch issues related to Punjab but fails to give a practical solution. It shows and promotes violence and vulgarity for the sake of entertainment. All these features make it a one-time show. Watch it if you are a die-hard fan of Diljit and his panga style. Avoid it if you want sensible entertainment.

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