3 Stars
Year Released: 2001
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 95 minutes
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With a title like this you’d expect a grisly, gruesome Indian epic. But no, this is a small, intimate drama about trying to change your life. Lafcadia (Irfan Khan) is a warrior working for a brutal regional Lord (Shyam), carrying out terrible verdicts that usually involve sudden beheadings or plundering villages. But one day he has a pang of conscience, swears off violence forever and runs off with his son (Chhibber). The Lord is more than a little mad, and sends Lafcadia’s right-hand man (Annuddin) after them. So what will Lafcadia do when he encounters his nemesis and former best friend?
British director Kapadia films this story like a mini-epic, using the rugged desert landscape of Rajasthan like a character in the film and capturing stunningly beautiful images with the help of cinematographer Roman Osin and his marvellously expressive cast. There’s very little dialog or action; the story is told in the faces, and Irfan Khan is remarkable as the calm in the storm. But all this tranquillity means the film is oddly muted, cutting away from anything really grisly or horrific. The violence and sex are merely hinted at off-screen, so we’re not always sure what’s happening, nor do we always feel what the characters must be feeling (although some scenes are quite gruelling enough!). That said, this is a timeless tale; the time period is irrelevant as the story is a profoundly personal one about trying to reject the strong internal drive for vengeance.

Posted on December 26, 2002 in Reviews by

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