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“Snarling Panther, Hidden Cameraperson” (Yash Raj Films) — Review

November 18, 2009

File photo of Pancho

Loosely inspired by Ang Lee’s epic film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Snarling Panther, Hidden Cameraperson is about a young and dashing Punjabi Black Panther named Pancho. Now Pancho had a loving, bucolic upbringing in a verdant village not far from the Wagah Border — a village full of lush Sarson Dey Khet and women in colourful attire, drying clothes and operating agricultural implements and hand-pumps.

One day while foraging, Pancho quite unexpectedly crosses paths with a beautiful female leopard. Hailing from a small forest just outside Lahore, Pakistan, the leopard, whose name is LipSink, loses her way after being hot on the trail of a deer for many days. LipSink not only manages to lose track of the deer, but also accidentally crosses over into Indian territory.

As may be expected, what follows is love at first sight: Pancho cannot take his eyes off LipSink’s slender, spotted body, while LipSink is gawking at Pancho, sparing neither his whiskers nor tail while doing so. But Pancho is, on the whole, a chivalrous panther who hasn’t forgotten his traditional roots, and LipSink is a homely leopard with a spotless character (if not spotless body). In other words, they don’t get it on. Pancho escorts LipSink back to her home outside Lahore, braving bad weather, mosquitoes and the occasional Taliban personnel during the journey. The bond between Pancho and LipSink deepens further during this period. And so, before they part they decide that they will marry, come what may, and that too with the consent of the families on both sides – a decidedly uphill task given that he is a Hindu (and Indian) panther, and she, a Muslim (and Pakistani) LEOPARD.
The film traipses from gaiety to histrionics and is peppered with humorous episodes of a markedly simian calibre. All the usual issues – the India-Pakistan and Hindu-Muslim divide, nationalism, discrimination on the basis of gender, Cricket, and inter-species sexual activity – get their due mileage using contrived and pedestrian settings and imagery (surprise surprise).
That the film will end on a happy note is, presuming one is a simpleton, not evident until the last 5 minutes. Pancho and LipSink finally get the families’ approval after enormous trials and tribulations on both sides of the border (and also on both sides of the movie screen).
They get married at Wagah border, a fitting symbol given the fact that most characters in the film seem to suffer from borderline personality disorders. The offspring born of the wedlock is a cute little Lanther (Panther-Leopard hybrid), who is promptly offered dual citizenship of India and Pakistan by the concerned authorities. The films ends on a rustic note: women dressed in colourful attire are cheerfully singing Punjabi folk songs, drying clothes and operating agricultural implements and hand-pumps.

  1. A very enjoyable read indeed. Gonna settle down to leisurely browse through the rest of this blog.

  2. arey, no switzerland?

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