A film by Deepa Mehta
1947. Earth is shown from the perspective and memories of an eight year old Parsee girl Lenny.
Deepa Mehta directed this Indian-Canadian romantic drama, the second part of a trilogy. Based on Bapsi Sidhwa’s autobiography, Cracking India, the story is set in 1947 in Lahore, where Hindu, Sikh, Parsee, and Muslim share a peaceful co-existence.
Events are seen from the point of view of eight-year-old Lenny (Maia Sethna), a girl from an affluent Parsee family. Lenny’s nanny, Shantya (Nandita Das), is involved with the Muslim Masseur.
About this movie
Title: Earth (1998)
Directed by: Deepa Mehta
Writing credits: Deepa Mehta, Bapsi Sidhwa
Music: A.R. Rahman
Country: India | Canada
Language: English | Hindi
Runtime: 110 min.
Cast: Maia Sethna, Nandita Das, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Babby Singh, Kitu Gidwani
England, having colonized India at its leisure, granted it independence with unseemly haste. Even its most outspoken nationalists were taken aback when Lord Mountbatten, the British viceroy, unexpectedly announced that the date for independence was a few months, not a few years, in the future.
The British decision to pull out by Aug. 15, 1947, left a country with no orderly way to deal with the rivalries between Hindus and Muslims, and the partition of India and Pakistan along religious lines led to bloodshed, massacres and, as this film calls it, "the largest and most terrible exchange of population in history".
"Earth" is a film that sees that tragedy through the eyes of a group of friends in Lahore, then in India, now in Pakistan. There are Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Parsees, even a Christian or two. They have lived side-by-side since time immemorial, and the more idealistic think that situation can continue. But as India has proved, along with Northern Ireland, the Middle East and Yugoslavia, many members of all faiths consider it no sin to murder a non-believer.
The movie is about a young, brace legged, eight year old Parsee girl named Lenny, whose beautiful nanny, Shanta is admired by all the men in a circle of friends. She slowly comes to love Hasan, a masseur, who is Muslim. She likes, but does not love, Dil, known as "Ice Candy Man". Her life is pleasant in a wealthy Parsee household ruled by Lenny's kind mother and officious father. When a train of Muslims arrives at the local depot and all the passengers are found murdered, the various sects turn against each other, and the city is soon aflame.
For Lenny, the trouble first appears in her Lahore home when a quarrel erupts between Mr. Singh, a Sikh neighbor and Mr. Rogers, a British Inspector General of Police, who have come to dine with her parents. Bitter words metamorphose into slogan shouting mobs and arson.
Angry Hindus storm through Lahore one day, and angry Muslims the next. Still, it is all far enough away from Lenny's uneasy but untouched home where her mother, Bunty, teaches her to waltz and Ayah's crew of admirers continue to meet in the park as before. The once charming Ice Candy Man turns into a near madman, one of the many roaming the streets of Lahore with vengeance and murder on their minds.
The Muslim Masseur, Hasan, the only voice of reason amongst Shanta's admirers, implores the group of friends to "stand by each other". A love affair between him and Shanta, blossoms amidst the carnage and Lenny is privy to this fragile relationship between a Muslim and a Hindu. A film which gracefully establishes the beauty of peace and crudely depicts the tragic loss of it, Earth concludes that the most painful kind of betrayal is that which occurs within the family. -- Written by Hariharan (IMDb)