STORY: Frustrated with lack of job opportunities back home in Punjab, former judo champion Jeet (Barkha Madan) in the hope of a better future decides to go to Canada, where her brother moved to, few years ago. With no money at her disposal to travel legally, she seeks help of a local trafficker, who tricks her into smuggling.
REVIEW: Surkhaab highlights the plight of immigrants, rural Indians and the circumstances that drives them to risk their lives to make a living abroad.Handled with great maturity, the Indo-Canadian film touches a chord for its authentic execution. The characters are real and so are their problems. Also, unlike most films, where the protagonist could have easily been portrayed as the victim, this film is an exception. Jeet is feisty and smart. Though not exposed to other culture or people, she holds her nerve and plucks up courage to fight for herself and her family keeping her dignity intact.
Sanjay Talreja needs to be applauded for making his characters look believable, except for a villain’s sidekick, who seems too good to be a crook. Otherwise, you can relate to the characters, their woes and can imagine what they must be going through. The thought of what could happen if you were stuck in a similar situation as Jeet is bound to cross your mind and that speaks volumes about the film’s impact.
Credit must also go to Barkha Madan for doing complete justice to her role. From being sensitive and vulnerable to brave and powerful, she defines her character beautifully. Other actors are equally competent.
Like Memento, the film unveils itself layer by layer (scenes shuttle between past and present) keeping the suspense element high. Had the second half been stronger, this would have been one of the most hard-hitting films on immigrants. Sadly, the thriller element overshadows drama and somewhere it dampens the pace and the plot.
Nonetheless, Surkhaab is extremely relevant and a poignant tale of survival that deserves to be seen.