Karvaan/Shadows in the dark

From The New York Times: "Young filmmaker Pankaj Butalia directs this sweeping film about ill-fated love set against the epic canvas of India's partition into Hindu Indian and Muslim Pakistan. The film opens with Lajma (Kitu Gidwani), a beautiful school teacher with greying hair, leaving Pakistan for her childhood home in India. There she discovers that the home is in ruin, her aging aunt is half senile, and her cousin Gautam (Subrata Dutta) is bitter and defeated. Flashback to 1947 when India splits in two -- the police force a proud old Muslim man, along with his grieving daughter-in-law, to take in a couple of impoverished Hindus, Chand and Bhagwati, into their large home. Later, Chand's mute sister Lajjo (Mandakini Goswami) arrives with her young daughter Lajma in tow. Suffering from some unnamed past trauma, Lajjo is eventually shipped off to an asylum, leaving Lajma with her uncle. Later still, Lajma, Chand's son Gautam and their neighbor's son Jamal (Srivardhan Trivedi) all live and play with each other in Chand's vast complex. As the three edge toward adulthood, both Lajma and Gautam fall for the bisexual Jamal -- Lajma trysts with her neighbor during the day in her rented room, while Gautam shacks up at night with him in a courtyard. Inevitably, this dangerous love triangle gets caught up in the politics of the day resulting in recriminations all around. This film was screened at the 1999 Venice Film Festival. - Jonathan Crow, Rovi"

Pankaj Butalia
Hindi, English Subtitles
Release Date: 
September, 1999