Set in post-colonial India, Qissa tells the story of Umber Singh, a Sikh who is forced to flee his village due to ethnic cleansing at the time of partition in 1947. Umber decides to fight fate and builds a new home for his family. When Umber marries his youngest child Kanwar to Neeli, a girl of lower caste, the family is faced with the truth of their identities; as individual ambitions and destinies collide in a struggle with eternity.
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We are with Pasolini during the last hours of his life, as he talks with his beloved family and friends, writes, gives a brutally honest interview, shares a meal with Ninetto Davoli, and cruises for the roughest rough trade in his gun-metal gray Alfa Romeo. Over the course of the action, Pasolini’s life and his art (represented by scenes from his films, his novel-in-progress Petrolio, and his projected film Porno-Teo-Kolossal) are constantly refracted and intermingled to the point where they become one.
When Arthur Davis, a junior bachelor in the British secret service’s African section, is seen taking a file with him to meet his girlfriend Cynthia- the brass fears he may be the leak to Moscow, and allows Dr. Percival to terminate the ‘risk factor’ by poisoning to avoid a scandal. In fact Davis’s desk chief, Maurice Castle, is the double agent since the South African communists helped him smuggle out his black lover Sarah M., meanwhile his wife and mother of schoolboy Sam, to force him to cooperate with the Apartheid government. When Cornelius Muller, the South African official who failed to get him in Pretoria’s power, visits London for the anti-communist operation Uncle Remus, he points out Castle still is the natural suspect