If you missed the festival screening of Mozez Singh’s Zubaan, read LAFF blogger’s review below of the film that won LAFF 2016’s Award for Best Production.
Zubaan (the voice), starring Vicky Kaushal and Sarah Jane Dias, is director Mozez Singh’s debut musical, and it takes us on a journey through the eyes of Dilsher, a young Punjabi boy who is on a path to find his own self-worth, identity and voice.
Raised in the small town of Gurdaspur, Dilsher’s loss of his father at a young age torments him throughout his youth, and his father’s passion of music becomes Dilsher’s biggest fear. A chance encounter re-unites Dilsher with one his idols, Guruchan Sikhand, a former Gurdaspur local worker, who is now an elite businessman, for whom Dilsher becomes a security guard and creates an unexpected bond of friendship.
As the trust between these characters develop, equally jealousy and envy follows from Guruchan’s immediate family; his wife and son. What follows on, is the interweaving of each of the individual’s own struggle to find their voices. As we watch Dilsher’s longing for respect and self-validation, whilst Guruchan’s son is yearning to be heard, accepted and trusted, we almost empathise as we witness Guruchan’s wife, who as a mother is silently screaming for her son’s acknowledgment in her husband’s eyes.
Yet it’s not just the lack of vocalisation that makes or break these characters, the voice of power, money and its influence on every individual is just as core to their ever changing personalities.
Sarah Jane Dias takes on the role of free spirted Amira, who helps to break Dilsher’s fear of music, which has been composed in this film by Ashutosh Phatak. Each song falls perfectly within each element of the story, especially Minu Bakshi’s haunting rendition of Jiske Sir Upar Tu Swami.
What stands out throughout the film, is the sheer simplicity of Mozez Singh’s narrative. Even though we see shades of grey developed so early in the protagonist’s personality, as a viewer, you are almost forced to empathise because of the torment and grief that forces the young Dilsher in his actions.
Zubaan opened up the 20th Busan International Film Festival where Mozez Singh won the Rising Director Asia Star Award.
Mozez Singh’s debut has clearly portrayed elements of his own personal journey and allowed audiences to connect and reflect of the importance of our paths to find our inner voices.
By Sejal Sehmi