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During The  Partition of 1947 , a  Sikh  Punjabi named Umber Singh ( Irrfan Khan ) evacuates his house with his wife Mehar ( Tisca Chopra ) and two daughters. He is disgruntled at the fact that he does not have a son to carry on his legacy as a strong Sikh hunter. He tells his wife that he is confident the next child will be a boy, but Mehar is unsure, and fearful that if she has another girl, Umber will leave her. During the birth of their 3rd child, Umber takes the child from the womb and declares with happiness that it is a boy. When Mehar tries to check the gender, Umber tells he not to worry about it and go to sleep. She realizes the child is in fact a girl and tells Umber that they can kill her if he feels it is inauspicious to have a 3rd daughter. Umber ignores her and happily, in his own denial, declares the new child as a boy named Kanwar.

As Kanwar grows up, Umber teaches her all of the things a Sikh boy should know; strength, endurance, and ability to shoot a gun. Kanwar has lapses of normal behavior for a young girl, including crying, giggling, and having her first period, which her father tries hard to repress and ignore. One time, when Kanwar goes out to play with her sisters, they end up fighting and Kanwar falls to the ground and breaks her leg. Once home and given proper medical treatment, Umber is blindingly furious at his two daughters for hurting his only "son". He drags his daughters off the bed and starts beating them mercilessly, but his wife Mehar comes in to stop him and tells him to get out. Umber declares if anything happens to his "son", he will cut his daughters to pieces.

Once Kanwar becomes a fully functioning "man" ( Tillotama Shome ), after having her turban ceremony, she starts to converse with a girl named Neeli ( Rasika Duggal ), who is the daughter of one of Umber's close friends. Kanwar and Neeli tease each other and kid around over the course of several weeks. In one instance, they fool around near the woods, where Kanwar tries to lock Neeli in a shed. She escapes and they both wrestle each other. Umber oversees this and sees his "son"'s happiness and asks Neeli's father for Neeli's hand in marriage to marry Kanwar. Soon, after the wedding ceremony, Neeli comes to know that Kanwar does not have a penis, though she doesn't know that he is actually a girl. Umber tells her that Kanwar had an 'accident' when he was younger. Neeli is disheartened knowing that she will never be able to have children with Kanwar. During one night, Neeli packs her bags and tries to escape her marriage. Umber spots her and pleads for her to come back. When she refuses, Umber wrestles her to the ground and attempts to rape her. Kanwar hears the commotion and comes outside to see her father trying to rape Neeli. Kanwar cries, trying to stop her father, but Umber tells her "it is the only way for you to have children". Umber promises Kanwar that if he leaves and lets Umber rape Neeli, they will have a beautiful son who will carry on the Sikh warrior tradition. Kanwar leaves in a fit of rage, but comes back carrying a shotgun, which he uses to shoot Umber in the back, killing him.

After the funeral of Umber, Mehar forces Kanwar and Neeli to run away and start a new life together and never come back. They do so, and live in an abandoned apartment building in a far away town. As they continue to live together, Neeli helps Kanwar shed the manhood her father forced on her and embrace the fact that she is biologically a woman. Neeli and Kanwar profess their love to each other, making them a lesbian couple, but hiding this secret from all others.

After some time, Kanwar decides to go back to see her mother in her home village. When she arrives, she sees that their house has been burned down and her mother and two sisters have all died in the fire. The only person left is the midwife, who has gone mentally insane and talks about "making Umber's dinner for him". As Kanwar explores the house, she sees her father in the mirror. The ghost of Umber continues to haunt Kanwar all the way back home. Umber tells Kanwar that they must make things right. Kanwar is haunted in her dreams by Umber, and on one night, Kanwar yells out the window to her father that she is a woman. Kanwar strips naked and professes her womanhood and lesbian relationship with Neeli. The townspeople hear this and are extremely disproving. They attempt to break into the house. Neeli tells Kanwar to go and not to come back otherwise they will both get killed. Kanwar leaves again, and as she wanders through the desert she sees her father. Broken and at her wits end, Kanwar submits to her Umber's ghost who drowns her in an oasis. Umber goes to the village to call Neeli, and brings her to the burned down house in which Kanwar's family used to live. He tells her that they are all cursed and will be for eternity. Neeli commits suicide by falling off the top balcony, leaving Umber by himself, wandering as a lost soul with no companion, and no love.

Full Cast and Crew

Anup Singh ... Director

Irrfan Khan ... Umber Singh
Tillotama Shome ... Kanwar Singh
Rasika Dugal ... Neeli
Tisca Chopra
Faezeh Jalali
Sonia Bindra

Beatrice Thiriet ... Music Director

Manish Tipu ... Music Director

Anup Singh ... Story Writer

Madhuja Mukherjee ... Story Writer

Sebastian Edschmid ... Cinematographer


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