Star Cast: Sadia, Aadil Khan, Faisal Simon
Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
What’s Good: Even without knowing anything about the film, one could easily tell how this is personal to the makers, performances that aren’t dependent on anything to hold you with them.
What’s Bad: Plays with the pace at many junctures & this won’t be welcomed by many.
Loo Break: It’s 2 hours long, plus if you’re in the film you know what to expect so it shouldn’t be a requirement.
Watch or Not?: The movie many-a-times crosses the line between being an art cinema & a commercial love story, it’s on you to decide where do you stand when it comes to such films.
Panning through a very narrow lane of Jammu, we see the camera panning towards a person writing a letter on the typewriter to the POTUS (President of the United States). This is the 1665th letter Shiv Kumar Dhar (Aadil Khan) is posting to the POTUS as he wants to let him know how he’s been a refugee in his own country for the last 28 years. In the flashback, we see Shiv meeting Shanti (Sadia) and marrying her in the very introductory scene.
Amidst the building tensions between Kashmiri Pandits & Kashmiri Muslims, a whole lot of Pandits get a forced exit from their own houses. What we now remember as the tragic ‘Exodus Day’ Shiv & Shanti were one of those lacs who went homeless overnight. They stay at a refugee camp in Jammu as Shiv gets a reply from the POTUS to his 1665th letter and what happens next is what the story is about.
Shikara Movie Review: Script Analysis
The beauty of the film lies in its exterior beauty. Rangarajan Ramabadran (Cinematographer, Chumbak fame) uses the drone shots to capture the aerial shots of Kashmir. These shots also used as the metaphors which start with a breathtaking Green valley and proceeds with showing the destruction ladened with smoke evaporating from the explosions.
Where Vidhu Vinod Chopra got confused is he wasn’t able to make a choice between portraying a love story or a story about Kashmiri Pandits. He mixes both and that’s where it lost the charm for me. You connect with just the characters’ struggle and not an entire community’s. The tension created in some sequences is unparalleled but that’s just for those two particular lovers.
Shikara Movie Review: Star Performance
Aadil Khan with an astounding presence, not only houses charm in his expressions but also pain & it instantly connects the audience. He can show on his face what is in his heart & that’s one great thing about established actors whereas this was just his first film.
Sadia Khan just lits up the screen with her wide & bright smile. She has the total control of the scene she is in & not let you watch anything apart from her. Both Aadil & Sadia are one of the best debutants anyone has given to Bollywood over the years. The actor playing Lateef, Shiv’s friend, gets his couple of scenes right in which writings of his character just plays with your emotions.
Shikara Movie Review: Direction, Music
This is filled with emotions for Vidhu Vinod Chopra and that’s clearly visible with the way he narrates the story. His passion for the subject instigates conflict in what he wants to tell and what people want to hear. Though this is a cinematic gem somehow lacks the most important ingredient which would’ve made this a classic.
The best musical piece in the film isn’t a song. It’s a poem written by Irshad Kamil and narrated by Aadil Khan – Ae Wadi Shehzadi. That’s Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s love letter to Kashmir & that should’ve been the outline sketch of the film. Shradha Mishra in Mar Jaayein Hum sounds ditto like Rekha Bhardwaj & I didn’t believe it wasn’t her until I came out to read who has crooned that.
Shikara Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, Shikara packs great performances and focuses on the pain in a ‘love story’. You’d connect with the characters but being politically correct will be a debate amongst those who’ll see it.
Shikara releases on 07th February, 2020.
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