Timeout - From Ritualism to Realization
by Megha Bajaj
Pandit Chaturvedi (Pankaj Kapur) lives his life as prescribed by the Vedas. From his early morning dip in the serene Ganga to the late night puja, his life is governed by the holy texts. He is revered by the people, and his word is the word of God. Everything changes when he adopts a baby boy, believing him to be a Brahmin. It’s a joy to see the strict, disciplined Pandit sing lullabies, change soiled nappies, hug and coo to the foundling. The actor performs so beautifully that the audience shares the small moments between the father and son – whether it is the two feeding pigeons in the picturesque Benares, or running along the Ganga. His life becomes drenched with love for the little boy Kaarthikay, until he discovers that he is a Muslim, the outcaste, and he has broken every dharmic vow in bringing up the boy, whose very shadow was enough to pollute him. Riots ravage the city; regret, the pandit’s heart. He does rigorous purification tapasya to save himself from the heinous sin. From deep silence, answers resound. Dharma means loving all without discrimination; dharma means living as a responsible human – compassionate and caring. The startling truths awaken the pandit from deep slumber, but will it be too late? Will his own students, in their war against adharma, harm his own son? Watch the movie to find out. You won’t be disappointed. The fine cinematography caresses the face of Benares; the songs sung by Sonu Nigam, especially the various chants, will resound within you long after you leave the movie hall, and the feeling that you have not watched a movie, but a real-life story will haunt you for a few days. Dharm is a journey from ritualism to realization, and you may be forced to question some of your own beliefs, as the story unfolds.
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