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3 Star popcorn reviewss

At the turn of the century, Vidhu Vinod Chopra brought us a movie based in Kashmir called ‘Mission Kashmir’ which delved into the story of how innocent youths are swayed into terrorism especially in the valley. This week, he brings to us ‘Shikara’ , based on the true incident of the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in the early 90’s (1990 to be precise). Does it shed light on the real incident or is it just another ‘artsy’ film ..lets find out.

Set in Kashmir, Shikara is a love story of a young couple against the backdrop of the unrest which eventual lead to the exodus. The story is poetic, poignant and simple. The screenplay is a slow burn. The things develop at a leisurely pace and even the moments of angst are depicted with utmost subtlety. But in the second half the things get even more slow when the film enters this ‘artsy’ mode. But, there are several heart warming moments, a few impactful as well that keep you invested. And the climax scene is very touching and really moves you! Here I would like to add that the makers have made a huge advertising mistake in promoting the movie as ‘The Untold Story Of Kashmiri Pandits’. I was reading about the actual issue and in the film, it is touched just about on the surface. It is primarily a love story and that is what it should have been promoted as. I have a rant too though which I will get to at the end of my review. So moving on…The dialogues are apt. Music blends well with the mood of the film. A special call out to the cinematography which is breath taking Director Vidhu Vinod Chopra returning after his stint in Hollywood(Broken Horses, a distant cousin of his own previous work Parinda), has done a good job here. The man is a genius(and he shows glimpses of it) which is why you wonder as to why he chose a simple way out and not delve deeper in this subject matter! Opportunity lost I guess!

Priyanshu Chatterjee is decent. Zain Khan Durrani(Kuch Bheege Alfaaz, highly recommended, on Netflix) is on point. The movie rests on the shoulders of the two debutantes -Aadil Khan and Sadia and both have done a commendable job. Aadil can really emote through his eyes while Sadia looks pretty and has great screen presence!

On the whole, Shikara is a lost opportunity. It is a simple yet poignant love story and that is pretty much it. Yet it should be watched for its cinematography and performances, but if you are looking for any entertainment then there isn’t any. Which is where I come to my rant. I have read many reviews where trolls are calling it a propaganda film(the movie now has an IMDb of 2 which is ridiculous). I am not sure if they have even watched the movie. I totally get the fact that this movie does not delve into the subject that it had promised to and can feel the angst of the Kashmiri Pandits who were forced to leave their house, but then this in its heart is a love story which also gives a good message of unity despite the odds. If this is propaganda then I wonder why a few historical (wont name them but you know which ones I am referring to) were not called propaganda films. Think about it!!

PS : Yesterday, the audience comprised of people in their mid forties and fifties! Point being implied is the current generation might be quite unaware of or disinterested in the true event!

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