New Delhi, 01 Apr 2022 20:23 IST
Written by Jagdeep Sidhu, the film carries a positive message but is hindered by a single-track overstretched story.
Directed by Manvir Brar and written by Jagdeep Sidhu, Lekh is a teenage love story, which is quite unique for Punjabi cinema. Sidhu, who is well known for his romantic films Qismat (2018), Sufna (2020) and Qismat 2 (2021), presents the innocence of adolescent love and the star-crossed destiny of the lovers.
We meet a grown-up Raunak (Tania) and the story of her love for Rajveer (Gurnam Bhullar) is revealed in flashback scenes. As a teenager studying in Class 11, Rajveer sees Raunak dancing one day and is entranced. He is completely smitten with her and tries to get to know her. Lovelorn and oblivious to everything around him, Rajveer spends his days only thinking about Raunak. His aunt counsels him to study and make something of himself and then get married to the girl of his choice. But one day, Rajveer disappears without any explanation and Raunak has no option but to move on with her life.
In the second half of the film, we are brought to present times when we find out what became of Rajveer and the reason for his disappearance. Despite the passage of time, Rajveer has closed himself off. He lives in the past and has fashioned his life in such a way that everything that he does reminds him of Raunak and the love that they once shared.
Lekh carries the crucial message that one needs to move ahead with one’s life despite setbacks, and the ending is surprising but holds an important message. Ammy Virk plays an incredibly mature man, who wishes to see Raunak happy and respects whatever decision she makes. It is a sign of the progression in Punjabi cinema where films do not shy away from addressing uncomfortable situations and proposing non-violent, informed means to solve them.
However, despite having its heart in the right place, the biggest drawback of the film is its overstretched story. The first half especially takes too long to set up the courtship and love between the two teenagers. Shot mostly in slow motion, this becomes quite tedious after a while, with an over-reliance on the background score to take the story forward. The humour is sporadic and one wishes for there to be some more respite from the main story track.
The music by B Praak and lyrics by Jaani aptly capture the various moments in the film with ‘Udd Gaya’ capturing Rajveer’s smitten state of mind; the song of lament ‘Mera Yaar’ is about the predicament that he finds himself in; and ‘Dil Milne Hunde Zaroori’ is about the overall import of the film.
In terms of performances, Gurnam Bhullar is the focus as this is primarily his story. He sports different looks that coincide with different time periods in his life. Having lost oodles of weight to play a young schoolboy, he portrays the innocence of youth competently and the disappointment that follows with a downcast expression in the second half. Tania is effervescent as the practical young girl who needs Rajveer to see the light of day and get on with his life. Her friend Saabi plays a fun role and is the source of much amusement. Nirmal Rishi, Harman Dhaliwal, Harman Brar and Kaka Kautki also feature in the film. Lekh was the last film shot by Kautki and he plays Rajveer’s father.
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