It may have a folksy and funny title, but ‘Lashtam Pashtam’ talks about a subject that is universally relevant. It celebrates friendship and brotherhood beyond borders, making it an apt release ahead of the Independence Day. While the film has an India-Pakistan context, its essence holds true for all friendships that transcend the limitations of political borders drawn between any of us, anywhere.
Directed by debutant Manav Bhalla, the film stars Om Puri, Tisca Chopra, Dolly Ahluwalia, Ishita Dutta, Feryna Wazheir, Vibhav Roy and Samar Vermani. In fact, it is one of Om Puri’s last films. A week before his death, the legendary actor had said in an interview, “In ‘Lashtam Pashtam’, I play a Pakistani taxi driver who helps an Indian, who gets lost in Pakistan, meet his friend in Islamabad. My character conveys a strong message — to end hatred. We are all humans, we have stayed together for years and we have learned from each other’s tehzeeb. Yes, there are issues, but like a dialogue in the film, issues happen at home also, even among brothers. Unfortunately, people have to be reminded of repeatedly — we must live and let live, as we have sacrificed a lot during the Partition.”
Producer-director Manav Bhalla adds, “This film will enable us to see love beyond religion and borders. It’s not just physical borders that we have to overcome; it’s also the mental ones that we have imposed on ourselves. On August 15, 1947, we declared freedom from oppression. Now, we should make an effort to free ourselves from hatred and stereotypes. As a filmmaker, I feel blessed that I got to work with Om ji on (probably) his last film and my first.”
‘Lashtam Pashtam’, produced by Manav Bhalla and Gheorghe Seran, releases today.