Writer Bhavani Iyer has a skill of building an intense narrative around a compelling love story and still makes them look appealing together, with nothing out of place. This craft is commendable since not many can master it. Kaafir gives us Dia Mirza 2.0, and the actress shines brighter than any other star in this sky created by director Sonam Nair and Bhavani Iyer. In a tale that talks about longing, confusion, and unexpressed love, the screenplay hits you hard and all you need is a big box of tissues. With a strong script, storyline, and brilliant performances Kaafir deserves your watch.
What’s Kaafir About: An ex-lawyer-turned- journalist Vedant (Mohit Raina), in search of a human interest story, stumbles upon footage of a toddler who was born in a jail in Kashmir as her mother is an alleged militant. Curiosity makes him meet Kainaaz Akhtar and her daughter in jail. Kainaz, a Pakistani citizen, following a bad incident, crosses the border and enters India where she is caught and declared a militant, and kept captive for seven years when her punishment is actually just 15 months. In the course of her stretch in jail, Kainaaz goes through a lot of hardships and violence. After getting to know her story, he sets on a mission to free her and send her back to her country. The storyline talks about divide, nationality, humanity and unsaid love, but never strays too far away from its main plot.
Yay: Let’s just take a moment to appreciate Dia Mirza for the performance she has bought to the table as Kainaaz. In her digital debut, the actress has sunk her teeth deep into the character. The pain, vulnerability, anger, disgust, love and much more is evident on that face, and you can feel all of that even when she has no dialogues. Those eyes are enough.
Talking about the high point, writer Bhavani Iyer who also has Alia Bhatt’s Raazi to her credit knows what she is talking about. Here, the enmity between the two countries isn’t the fodder to create a character, but finding a solution is. Direction by Sonam Nair puts the blocks just right and keeps you up through the series. Just when you think that Kainaaz is released from the jail in an early episode (Yes, spoiler) you are confused as to what’s left now. It is later that you realise that the canvas is much bigger than her acquittal, it is way beyond that.
What has our hearts is the subtlety in the scenes dealing with the feelings the two have for each other. You know its love, they know its love, but letting it go is all that they can do. We need tissues in abundance at this point.
Pratik Shah’s cinematography captures the set-up nicely. The beautiful snow-clad valley of Kashmir turns out to be a gateway to this dark colourless world of Kainaaz. The background score is there to make you uneasy, the chaos around Vedant in the outer world, and the deadly silence around Kainaaz in the jail is noticeable.
Mohit Raina as Vedant is perfect. Though the set-up is similar to his last outing URI: The Surgical Strike, the actor brings newness to this part.
Nay: Just two things, in the course of the show, the script mentions the Kashmiri Pandits, and a few other things which are hit-and-miss. A more subtle approach might have driven the point home more effectively. Also, the time frame in the first half gets a bit confusing.
CineBlitz Verdict: By the climax, a poem in Dia’s voice written by Swanand Kirkire plays in the background. It roughly read “Log ladte hai milne ki khaatir, par apni to bichad jaane ki ladaai thi,” if that doesn’t hit you hard, then nothing will. Watch Kaafir, and you must, for Dia, for the writing, and the love that is never really confessed. A series that deals responsibly with a sensitive topic and emerges a winner. We fully recommend watching this Zee5 Original.