Gulzar, Wave Cinema, Picture Thoughts and High Ground Enterprises Ltd.’s Kya Dilli Kya Lahore (UA) is the story of an Indian armyman and a Pakistani soldier whose initial enmity soon turns into friendship. Rehmat Ali (Vijay Raaz) is a Pakistani soldier, one among the few who have managed to survive after war with India. Many Indian soldiers have also died in the battle. Rehmat Ali is ordered by his captain (Vishwajeet Pradhan) to enter an Indian army office and get a file containing the plan of a secret tunnel from India to Pakistan. With no alternative but to obey his captain’s order, Rehmat Ali reaches the office where there is just the Indian army cook, Samarth Pratap Shastri (Manu Rishi). Shastri’s ancestors were from Pakistan. The two exchange bullets and bad words as they try to prove one-up on the other but it is not long before Shastri agrees to let Rehmat Ali take away the files he wanted in return for a watch and expensive chain. Shastri himself is not sure if there is a secret tunnel between India and Pakistan and says so to Rehmat Ali. Why, the Indian cook even serves tasty food to the famished Pakistani soldier.

Even while Shastri and Rehmat Ali are walking together with the files towards Pakistan, the Indian army postman, Barfi Singh (Raj Zutshi), spots them. He beats Shastri black and blue for being a traitor and also holds Rehmat Ali captive. By a sudden turn of events, Barfi Singh is killed. Rehmat Ali and Shastri are once again alone, the latter almost dead due to thirst. Just then, the Pakistani captain reaches there and wants to kill the dying Shastri. Will Rehmat Ali let his foe-turned-friend Samarth Pratap Shastri die?

Aseem Arora’s story is different and although it tries to show that at the end of the day, even soldiers and armymen are human beings, the human drama does not really strike a chord in the audience’s hearts. The screenplay, penned by Aseem Arora, Pratham S. Jolly and Manu Rishi, stagnates after the initial few reels because it becomes repetitive to the core. The same location, where words and bullets are being fired by Shastri and Ali on one another, only adds to the audience’s monotony. The entire film actually looks like a stage-play rather than a proper film. Since there are only four principal characters in the film, boredom also creeps in on that count. Probably, the biggest drawback of the drama is that it fails to touch the heart, leaving the viewers unaffected. Manu Rishi’s dialogues are real but not as loaded as they ought to have been. Had the dialogues been powerful, patriotic and emotional, they would’ve added to the drama.

Vijay Raaz is natural to the core, essaying the role of Rehmat Ali with conviction. Manu Rishi also does well. But to imagine that the audience would be able to sustain their interest simply by watching these two actors from the beginning till the end is nothing short of foolhardiness. Raj Zutshi is effective. Vishwajeet Pradhan performs ably.

Vijay Raaz’s direction, like the script, is uni-dimensional and more suited to a stage-play. Sandesh Shandilya’s music is not of the popular variety. Gulzar’s lyrics are very weighty, as usual. Background music (by Sandesh Shandilya) is alright. Raaj Chakravarti’s cinematography is good. Archit D. Rastogi’s editing is quite nice.

On the whole, Kya Dilli Kya Lahore is too class-appealing to create any impact whatsoever at the box-office. Its dull promotion will only add to its problems. Flop!

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