New Delhi, 25 Feb 2022 20:13 IST
The Ammy Virk-starrer humanizes the plight of migrants with sensitivity.
Written and directed by Rakesh Dhawan, the Punjabi-language film Aaja Mexico Challiye, starring singer-actor Ammy Virk, examines the plight of immigrants who get tricked by agents who are in the business of taking people abroad.
The film tells the story of a young man Pamma (Virk), a mechanical engineer who cannot find a suitable job in Punjab and dreams of going abroad. He wants to go to America and tries different tricks to put together the huge amounts of money to be paid to the touts.
With big dreams in his eyes, he takes off and reaches Quito, Ecuador only to find that there are several other people like him, hoping to escape their economic hardships. Although the people think they are following the legal path to enter the country, they are put on the ‘donkey route’, one that tries to slip them illegally into the United States. Making his way through various countries through this route, the reality of the situation starts to dawn on Pamma.
Aaja Mexico Challiye sheds light on the deplorable employment opportunities in the state of Punjab which fuel the desire of young people and families to find a better future for themselves. It begins with statistics about Indians seeking asylum and dying on their way to enter the United States through various routes. Dealing with the mafia, touts and dangerous jungles, countless people face mental and physical exhaustion and are unable to make the treacherous journey.
The sheer desperation of these people leads them to dangerous territories that often become life-threatening, even as their anxious family members wait for news at home and get burdened by loans. With a crucial issue at the heart of the film, Aaja Mexico Challiye is a cautionary tale about the reality behind dreams of going abroad.
Although most of the film is focused on depicting this harsh, heart-wrenching reality, the humour and camaraderie between the odd group of people keep things light-hearted amidst the hardships. Striking friendships in the unlikeliest of places, the group tries to keep their spirits up, although they are completely vulnerable and scared.
The performances are adequate and the cinematography captures the vastness of the landscape and the ordeal of the migrants. However, in its zeal to depict hardships, the film becomes a protracted drama, especially in the second half. The emotional songs ‘Bhali Kare Kartar’ and ‘Ni Maiye Aithe Sada’ express the pain, sadness and uncertainty that migrants face along the way.
There is a scene in the film, where a group sings ‘Why should we wander in jungles if we find employment in Punjab’. It makes one wonder about which place is the actual graveyard of dreams after all.
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