Tag: Anup-Singh

Director Anup Singh’s Qissa Wins Hearts with a Realistic Tale; Film Review


While many of us may have heard stories about Partition and the repercussions on both sides of the border, director Anup Singh’s film Qissa gives us a glimpse of the scenario that the people had to face.

Set in the post colonial era, the story of Qissa is about Umber Singh, a Sikh who flees from his village with his family during the partition of 1947. The violence all around and the tortures that women had to suffer during this period made his craving for a male child even dominant. So much so that when his wife delivers a girl child for the fourth time, he actually raises up the child like a boy. The child Kanwar is married to a gypsy girl Neeli and trouble ensues. What happens next is both hard hitting and you will feel sympathy for the characters.

Director Anup Singh’s second film Qissa is far removed from his directorial debut “The name of a river”. Though both the films have the common theme of partition, the tales are different. The film “The name of a river” is actually homage to his idol director Ritwick Ghatak. But in Qissa the effects on partition on the minds of individuals have been dealt with beautifully. The gender equation which the director painstakingly builds up in the film is worth taking a note of. The scene where Umber Singh does not allow his wife to see the new born child properly (to determine whether it a boy or girl) and his declaration that it is a boy, hit you instantly. The craving for the male child to continue with the family legacy reaches to such an extent that he actually raises the female child as a male one and this is very significant. Tales of these kinds abound in the Partition areas and the director has portrayed this in the film. The repercussions when the truth of the identity of the child is known are drastic and will evoke pity from the audience.

Despite the hard hitting story, a few things actually caught my attention and struck me as odd. The use of the paranormal in the narrative may actually confuse some audiences. This element of magical realism may confuse the audience rather than making them appreciate the film. Moreover the screenplay drags a bit in the second half and this actually pulls down the film a bit. The director also could have shown some scenes where Kanwar actually shares some moments with her mother, Meher.

Cinematographer Sebastian Edschmid must be credited for the fantastic use of the camera. The camera angles are just too good and help to carry forward the narrative very much.

Music director Beatrice Thiriet’s music is also pleasing for the ears and blends very well with this tale.

Lastly the actors who actually had to bring alive these characters on screen had the toughest job and they pulled it with great ease and poise. Irrfan Khan as Umber Singh is so realistic that at times the audience will fell pity for him and at times also shudder at his gender biasness. Irrfan proves yet again that he is a director’s actor. Tisca Chopra as Meher also does well. It will be really good to see her in more such good roles. Tilottama as Kanwar had a really tough job of acting as the Sikh boy. And yes she acted with such confidence that many of us seated in the hall actually forgot that she is a girl. Hats off to her acting!! Rasika Duggal as Neeli is also impressive.

Qissa is a hard hitting tale which despite having cinematic elements is representative of the time that it portrays. You have watched larger than life characters on big screens. Why not go and view a slice of life on the big screens for a change? Think about it!!

Sholoana Bangaliana Rating- 3.5/5

Priyanka Dutta takes a keen interest in lifestyle and entertainment related news. She also enjoys interviewing celebrities and other renowned personalities. Priyanka holds a post graduate degree in English and Mass Communication. Journalism is her passion and she has reported for many a reputed international web portals.

The information and views set out in this movie review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the Publication/Organization. Neither the Publication/Organization nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.



Interview: Director Anup Singh on his Recently Released Film Qissa; A Sholoana Bangaliana Exclusive


Director Anup Singh was in the city for a special screening of his second film Qissa. Sholoana Bangaliana correspondent caught up with the talented director. Excerpts from the conversation..

Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana- Welcome to Kolkata!! Can you throw some light on the story of Qissa.

Anup Singh– Thanks!! The film Qissa is about Umber Singh who wakes up one morning to find that all that gave him his identity is lost. This includes his home, land and also his country. Now in an attempt to find himself again, he chooses to bring up his youngest daughter as a boy. This is a decision which he takes and which he believes will change his future. It is a way of thinking and unfortunately this thinking still continues in India.

So is there a feminist trait in the film?

There is not a feminist trend but if you look at the Qissa form, you will find that the stories are called Soni-Mahewal, Heer-Ranjha, Laila-Majnu. The woman’s name comes first. In that way my film celebrates womanhood.


Why were you attracted to the Qissa form?

I think it is simply because it transgresses. It also attracted me because it deals with two different individuals of two different worlds. There is a river in between which the lovers have to be crossed. There are boundaries that have to be crossed. While we live, what is death? That is the ultimate type of crossing that one has to come terms with.

So do you support rights of women?

There is no question of not supporting. As I believe that I am half a woman myself. I support to the fullest my affirmation of living life as fully as possible.

What motivated you to make again a film on Partition, as your first film “The name of a river” was also based on Partition?

Well, that was homage to my favorite director Ritwick Ghatak and was more of a documentary film. There are two things. After years of Partition, there were violence and these continue even now. Take up a newspaper and news on violence abound. As an Indian I am completely distraught by these recurrences of violence in our hearts. What are the sources of violence on a historical and political level?

Secondly there is a story which I end up telling everyone. My grandfather was a refugee and I grew up listening to refugee stories. I saw within the stories the anger and trauma of men. But it was very rare to hear from the women. An older man once told me about his daughter. She jumped in the well when the village was attacked and died. Even now he dreams about his daughter. To me this has been a primal image of writing the story of this film Qissa. I wanted the remembrance to stay with us. These stories are part of our history and deserve our attention.


Why did you select Irrfan Khan for the role of Umber Singh?

When I was writing the script, I thought that Balraj Sahni would suit the role very much. But he was already dead. And I thought that after Balraj Sahni if there was any actor who would do justice to the role then it was Irrfan. He does not manipulate the role and he is not a Punjabi speaker. This is wonderful as Irrfan will be like my grandfather who had to find himself again as a refugee. The joy of working with Irrfan begins when he starts playing with his sense of self. He comes as a refugee on set and hence no role that he acts in is similar to the other.

What is your next project?

I am going to start a film in October. The film is called Mantra. The film is about a young musician in Rajasthan who is trying to find a song which will heal her because she is slowing dying due to the poison of the man who is living with her.

Director Anup Singh’s Qissa released on the 20th of February in select theatres in the city and you must watch it to unravel the mystery of the Qissa that the film tells.



Priyanka Dutta takes a keen interest in lifestyle and entertainment related news. She also enjoys interviewing celebrities and other renowned personalities. Priyanka holds a post graduate degree in English and Mass Communication. Journalism is her passion and she has reported for many a reputed international web portals.