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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Pairon Talle" )

 

directed by Sidharth Srinivasan
India 2010

 

Saroj (Saba Joshi) resents her husband Bhanu (Dibyendu Bhattacharya, MONSOON WEDDING) because his dedication to his position as the sole guard of the long closed-down Royal Silica Mine has them living in poverty. Whenever his boss Lakhmichand Ahlawat (Avtar Sahani, THE BLUE UMBRELLA) visits, Bhanu must bicycle to the next village to get his lunch (he prefers MacDonalds over the new nearby Dominos Pizza) - during his absence, Ahlawat takes advantage of Saroj - and then he must beg him for the bribe money to pay off local cop Chhatar (Rupinder Walia). Bhanu tolerates Ahlawat's abuse because his "master" tells him that he is part of the family, and that he will not be forgotten when his new plans for the mine come to fruition. The fate of the mine, of course, is contingent on the arranged marriage of Ahlawat's reluctant daughter Twinkle (Geeta Bisht, DELHI-6) to the son of successful businessman Dihaya (R. K. Sharma). When Twinkle instead runs off with true love Daya (Abhishek Banerjee), humiliated Ahlawat reports it to the police as a kidnapping and hires an axe-wielding, motorcycle-riding "Stranger" (Manav Kaushik, MISSION KASHMIR) to kill Daya and retrieve Twinkle. When the young couple decide to hide out at the mine, Bhanu - not having seen Twinkle since her childhood - is at first reluctant to shelter the strangers (allowing trespassers into the mine would be a dereliction of duty) but he relents when he sees that they are indeed being pursued. His decision sets off a series of tragic events that will eventually come full circle.

Brutal and utterly nihilistic for an Indian export (well, for those of us who know Indian cinema mainly through Bollywood musicals and a handful of more restrained social realism films), SOUL OF SAND is thin on plot; however, the "forbidden lovers" and pursuing killer elements are really secondary to the film's exploration of caste and predation. Ahlawat thoroughly mistreats Bhanu as a slave and Soraj as a prostitute (he considers the cash he gives her a "gift") yet he is embarrassingly servile to his Dahiya in hopes of unloading the mine on the businessmanm, who holds him in the same disregard in which he sees Bhanu and Soraj (despite his promise to the couple, he tells his potential son-in-law's father that he can get rid of them). Ahlawat also thinks nothing of having his daughter's boyfriend murdered and forcing her to marry another man. Although Chhatar is on the take, his contempt for Bhanu lies in his willing servitude and he even tries to convince him to better himself, but even Chhatar is revealed to be beholden to corrupt social superiors. By the time two of the film's characters find their consciences and admit their weaknesses, the tragedy is already barreling down on them and the other major characters (and any catharsis through violence is short-lived).

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 15 January 2011 (USA)

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DVD Review: The Global Lens Initiative (The Global Lens Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

The Global Lens Initiative

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:38:38
Video

1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 9.4 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Hindi Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English (burnt-in)
Features Release Information:
Studio: The Global Lens Initiative

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.83:1

Edition Details:
• Global Lens Trailer
• Global Lens Films
• About The Global Lens Initiative
• DVD-ROM: Film Discussion Guide (.pdf)

DVD Release Date: September 25th, 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Despite the atypical (for this label) though welcome dual-layer encoding of this barebones release, the results are otherwise disappointing. The interlaced transfer is letterboxed at 1.85:1 but lacking anamorphic enhancement (which is very odd for a 2010 theatrical release and even odder for 2012 DVD release).

The original 5.1 track has also not been retained, although the 2.0 track is serviceable. The burnt-in English subtitles are fairly easy to read against bright backgrounds, but the font is rather small. There are absolutely no extras other than a PDF discussion guide and background text about The Global Lens Collection.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

The Global Lens Initiative

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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