28 October, 2020

No Fire In This Earth

It's come trailing clouds of hype, but Deepa Mehta's film 'Earth' fails to strike a raw chord

No Fire In This Earth
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Sadly, despite a talented cast, Deepa Mehta's 'highly acclaimed' film Earth is little more than a celluloid equivalent of supper theatre. The problem with the film is that though it is based on Bapsi Sidhwa's novel, The Ice Candy Man, which revolves around the emotionally surcharged issue of Partition, the film evokes no strong feelings. Barring impatience.

The blame for this must lie squarely on Mehta's directorial shoulders. The very first scene in the film presages the easy cliches Mehta will use to tell a complex tale. The time's '47. The location: Lahore. Lenny Baby, an eight-year-old Parsi girl suffering from polio, hobbles into an elegant dining room in her father's home in Lahore. Picking up a plate, she crashes it on the floor. Then, tremulously, she asks her mother (played superbly by Kitu Gidwani, who excels despite Mehta!): 'How'll I go to the park after Lahore's partitioned?'

Like the callow symbol of the crashing plate (later Lenny tears a doll in two to reinforce the point!), Mehta's film is full of sloppy short cuts that fail to...

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