Review: ‘The Kashmir Files’ – Indian Link
Based on real incidents and told from the perspective of the Kashmiri Pandit, director Vivek Agnihotri’s film The Kashmir Files is a dramatized version of the events of 1989.
The film, which presents the plight of Kashmiri pundits with all its grime and gore, begins on an innocuous note, with a euphoric commentary on cricket on the radio against the backdrop of young Kashmiri children playing cricket in the landscape. snowy.
Synchronizing their playing with the radio commentary, young Shiva applauds Sachin Tendulkar until his friend Abdul advises him against it, and soon we realize why.
IN ONE LOOK
‘The Kashmir Files’ (theatrical release)
Duration: 170 minutes.
Director: Vivek Agnihotri.
Cast: Mithun Chakraborty, Amaan Iqbal, Anupam Kher, Bhasha Sumbli, Puneet Issar, Arpan Bhikhari, Pallavi Joshi, Ekta Singh, RK Gaurav, Chinmay Mandlekar and Darshan Kumaar.
Told in a non-linear fashion, the plot initially meanders on a jerky note telling us about the atrocities perpetrated on Pushkar Nath Pandit (Anupam Kher) and his family. But soon the story takes the form of a cathartic film, when Pushkar’s four friends reunite after 30 years, at the request of Krishna (Darshan Kumaar), Pushkar’s younger grandson, to scatter the ashes of Pushkar in his ancestral home in Kashmir.
They meet at the house of Brahma Bhatt (Mithun Chakraborty), an IAS officer who was the advisor to the Governor of Kashmir. Others in the room are Brahma’s wife, Laxmi (Mrinal Kulkarni), Dr. Mahesh Kumar (Prakash Belawadi), DGP Hari Narayan (Puneet Issar) and journalist Vishnu Ram (Atul Srivastava). Together they represent the pillars of the state, who tactfully decide not to address the elephant in the room, but so how long can pent-up feelings be contained?
At the dining table, while discussing ‘nadru’ (lotus stems), Brahma reminisces about his time spent with Pushkar, and soon their resolve is shattered.
Laying cards on the table, reflecting what has happened from the early 1990s to the present day, and filled with rhetorical questions, the film opens up a Pandora’s box. It thus cleverly and shrewdly maneuvers from being inspiring to motivating to a propaganda film where each character propels the narrative forward.
Pallavi Joshi plays Radhika Menon, a professor at a prestigious college in Delhi where Krishna studies and struggles to be a student leader. She is the perfect troublemaker with misplaced confidence, which prompts Krishna. “Make the government the bad guy,” she says, “and you’ll have better bargaining power.” She plays in a stereotypical and superficial way. This is the case of Chinmay Mandlekar, who tries out the role of Farooq Malik Bitta, the questionable “terrorist or freedom fighter”.
On the other hand, Anupam Kher puts her soul into her performance and delivers an impressive Pushkar Nath Pandit. Mithun Chakraborty is equally remarkable. But the actor who leaves an indelible mark on the screen is Darshan Kumaar, who, like Krishna, is gripping, especially during his climax speech.
Edited with ace production values, the visuals, save for a few frames, boast no cinematic brilliance. Nonetheless, the movie is relatable and you get sucked into the narrative.
Overall, the film is engaging and like one of the dialogues, which tells us, “Broken souls don’t speak, they have to be heard”, The Kashmir Files is the voice of tens of thousands of Kashmiri pundits who have been forced from their homes.
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