Gripped by helplessness and isolation, the movie Anhey Ghorhey Da Daan, set in a small village of Punjab, is one of the few movies which forces us to think beyond our surroundings. The movie is compelling as it not just expresses the angst of the poor and working class people in Punjab but has an universal connotation of the oppressed.
The plot is lost to the growing inertness of the struggle against the higher powers of the society. The story begins on a foggy winter morning, where a Dalit family in a village in Punjab wakes up to the news of the demolition of a house of one of their community members on the outskirts of the village. Mal Singh is a silent sympathiser, who joins his community to demand justice for the affected family.
The same day, his son Melu, a cycle-rickshaw puller in the city, participates in a strike by his union. Injured and alienated, Melu spends the day quietly resting and later joins his friends as they tease him over his state of affairs. Hesitantly, he drinks with them in the night as they debate the meaning of their existence. Cycling through the city streets, Melu feels lost.
Back in the village, Melu’s mother feels humiliated at the treatment meted out by the landlords in the fields, where she works. Later during the night, gunshots are heard in the night and the village is tense. A man wanders asking for the traditional alms while Mal Singh decides to visit the city with a friend. His daughter Dayalo walks through the village streets night feeling the same sense of suffocation.
To sum it up, the story is told in bits and pieces and none of the characters are defined. The plot dims as the story progresses and one is drawn into the grip of suffocation and helplessness.
‘The plot here is unclear and there is constantly something more each character looks out to and this has made everyone open to interpret in different ways,’ said director Gurvinder Singh.
The film was a part of the Venice Film Festival last year. Singh also won a National Award for Best Director in 2011.
‘The sound effects and the noises around were created to give a deep impact and somewhere I believed this kind of movie is not understood by its plot but by the reality,’ he says.