Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost - A Haunting Drama About Gender and Identity
Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost is a 2013 Indian-German film in Punjabi language, directed by Anup Singh and starring Irrfan Khan, Tisca Chopra, Tillotama Shome and Rasika Dugal. The film explores the themes of desire, family, identity and the supernatural, through the story of a Sikh man who raises his fourth daughter as a son during the Partition of India in 1947.
The film was screened at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the Netpac Award for World or International Asian Film. It was also released in Indian theaters on 20 February 2015 and received critical acclaim for its powerful performances, compelling narrative and stunning cinematography.
The film begins with Umber Singh (Irrfan Khan), a Sikh who loses everything during the separation of India and Pakistan in 1947 and is forced to leave his homeland. He obsessively wishes for a male heir to carry on his family lineage, but his wife Mehar (Tisca Chopra) gives birth to four daughters. When his fourth daughter is born, he decides to wage a fight against destiny and declares her to be a boy named Kanwar (Tillotama Shome).
Umber raises Kanwar as a son, ignoring her biological reality and suppressing her feminine traits. He teaches her to be strong, brave and skilled in shooting. Kanwar grows up confused and conflicted about her identity, while Umber becomes more obsessed and delusional. He arranges a marriage for Kanwar with Neeli (Rasika Dugal), a girl who is secretly in love with Kanwar. The marriage leads to a tragic and shocking climax that reveals the true nature of Umber's ghost.
Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost is a film that challenges the norms of gender and society, and questions the meaning of identity and belonging. It is a film that haunts the viewers with its emotional intensity, visual beauty and poetic storytelling. It is a film that showcases the talent of Irrfan Khan, who delivers one of his finest performances as the tormented father who defies fate. It is a film that deserves to be watched by anyone who appreciates cinema as an art form.
The film also boasts of some remarkable performances from the lead actors. Irrfan Khan is brilliant as the patriarch who is driven by his ego and delusions. He portrays Umber's complexity and madness with subtlety and nuance. Tisca Chopra is equally impressive as the mother who suffers silently and tries to protect her daughters from Umber's wrath. She conveys Mehar's pain and resilience with grace and dignity.
Tillotama Shome and Rasika Dugal are the real stars of the film, as they play the unconventional couple who struggle with their identity and love. Shome is outstanding as Kanwar, who is trapped in a body and a role that she does not belong to. She expresses Kanwar's confusion, anger, fear and longing with remarkable authenticity. Dugal is charming as Neeli, who is drawn to Kanwar despite knowing her secret. She brings warmth and innocence to Neeli's character.
The film also benefits from its technical aspects, such as the cinematography by Sebastian Edschmid, who captures the beauty and bleakness of the Punjab landscape. The music by Beatrice Thiriet and Manish J Tipu, who create a haunting and melancholic score that suits the mood of the film. The editing by Bernd Euscher, who keeps the film tight and engaging.
Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost is a film that will stay with you long after you watch it. It is a film that challenges your perceptions and emotions. It is a film that deserves your attention and appreciation. 061ffe29dd