Maachis ( ) was a
1996 Indian Bollywood film directed by Gulzar.
The title of the film is
used as a metaphor that conveys that the youth of any nation are
matchsticks that could get ignited due to the deficiencies in the
political and policing systems. The film portrays the circumstances
surrounding the rise of the Sikh
insurgency in Punjab in the
1980s, and traces the transformation of a youth from a next-door
guy to a dreaded terrorist bent of wreaking vengeance for the wrong
meted out to him.
The film tasted both critical and commercial success. Gulzar's
direction and the music of Vishal
were strong points. To this day, many numbers from the
film, particularly Chappa Chappa Charkha Chale
Chhod Aaye Hum Vo Galiyaan
can be often heard playing on
FM radio or TV channels. Bhardwaj went on to become a movie
director, and has directed movies such as Maqbool
as well as the highly-lauded
in the recent past. Chhod
Aaye Hum was the first Hindi film song ever sung by KK.
In more ways than one, Maachis
is a film about what
atrocities can drive an ordinary human to do. It looks back at the
Punjab problem, and tries to figure out some of the root causes. It
also warns that in the future, there could be many more
Punjabs—burning and suffering for years.
Virender Kaur aka "Veeran" (Tabu
) is a young
woman living in a prosperous Punjabi village with her mother and
her brother, Jaswant Singh Randhawa aka "Jassi" (Raj Zutshi
); the latter is the best friend of
Veeran's fiance, Kripal Singh aka "Palli" (Chandrachur Singh
). When Jassi disappears
into police custody following a routine house-search, his family
endures a hellish fortnight of bureaucratic denials and anguished
waiting. When he returns brutally scarred from torture, Palli
abandons the village to seek, first, answers, and later, revenge,
eventually falling into the company of Sanatan (Om Puri
), the leader of a Sikh
Militant Organization. Slowly, the once-comfortable world of Palli
and his extended family falls apart, to be replaced by the fictive
kinship of the hunted members of the organization fighting for
freedom of Sikhs and Punjab.
The Movie was produced by R. V. Pandit, other movies by him where
Nidaan, Train to Pakisthan & yet to be released Jayte.
had a congregation of some of the finest actors in
Bollywood, besides a sparkling performance by Chandrachur Singh
, a newcomer. The core
cast is listed below.
1997 National Film Awards (India)