Director: Ajai Sinha
Cast: Om Puri,Govind Namdeo,Manoj Pahwa,Uvika Chowdhary,Mohnish Behl,Anuradha Patel
One of the worst phrases that seems to have grown disgraceful roots both in the media and public discourse is honour killing. Its use,minus the essential quote marks,legitimizes it,and makes it easy for us to throw it around in drawing-room conversations when we see pictures of young couples hacked to death by their elders who thought they knew better. Khap is a film that ostensibly sets out to challenge the notion of honour killings,taking us to a Haryana village where such activities seem to over-ride all else. But it is so shoddily done that the opposite is achieved,giving those who practice it with impunity a platform from where they can preach.
Mohnish Behl plays a man who left his village,and his father (Puri) behind,because he couldnt bear the idea of young lovers being butchered in the name of honour. His daughter (Chowdhary) fetches up in the very same ‘gaon on a field trip,bumps into the man who turns out to be her despotic ‘dadaji,and gets into a position where she has to fight for her life (and her husbands),when a hysterical old woman discovers that their ancestors belong to the same khap (cluster of villages). ‘Bhai behen ki shaadi kara di hai,she thunders,and off the newly-weds are dragged,to be humiliated in front of a ‘panchayat,and flung in front of a tractor,to be trampled upon.
Everyone yells and shouts and brandishes swords. That a burning social issue has been sought to be addressed is a good thing,but not this way. The khap representatives who are worried that the film will give them a bad rep,and are on a warpath against movie halls showing it,neednt bother.