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Rooks's 'Train to Pakistan' tells the story of a small Punjab village during the partition in 1947. There have been several movies on this subject but Rooks takes a different turn. I liked her direction and she really put effort into presenting the time and the horror of the war without flooding the film with graphic images and sounding preachy. Even if there are few such scenes they are used minimally. In one very effective scene we see corpses float on a river as the villagers silently stare. None of the bodies are shown from close range and yet the scene is so impactive. Some viewers have disapproved the use of foul language. However, I think it adds to the rawness of the hot-headed villagers. I haven't read the original novel (I didn't know it was an adaptation until afterwards) but many are disappointed mainly due of the lack of development. At some point, the film seemed to move at a sluggish pace until it swiftly picks up in the last half hour. Some characters did require development, especially Iqbal. Mohan Agase as the ignorant head of the village conveys the complexity of his character with complete ease especially in the scenes where he reflects himself as the man he he has become compared to who he used to be. Nirmal Pandey provides some comic relief. He's a little loud with dramatics but overall it's a good effort. Sadly, Rajit Kapoor's Iqbal suffers even though the actor makes the best of what he has. He seems to have taken his pants off for no significant reason as his character isn't given much scope. Divya Dutta does alright but the dubbing (clearly someone else's voice) does hinder the acting (as the voice sounds too childlike for a professional prostitute. Smriti Mishra is adequate. Much of the supporting cast were a little too dramatic. Comparisons have often been made between books and movies and usually books win. But, having not read the book (which I intend to) I was generally pleased by 'Train to Pakistan. It could have been better but it's not bad. I liked the powerful ending as, without derailing from the main story, it avoided the 'cliched art-film' ending (I thought it would end with graphic images of the bloodbath.

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