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Jihad review: Well crafted!

Rakesh Parmar deserves kudos for making a complex subject like this, writes Jyothi Venkatesh





Producer: ASC Digital Private Limited

Director: Rakesh Parmar

Cast: Hyder Kazmi, Aleefya, Muzammil Bhawani, Bhavani Bashir Yasit, Rajesh Pal,Vishal Tiwari, Farooq Ahmed and Shujat Shabbat

Streaming on: Mastani

Rating: ***

By Jyothi Venkatesh

The most dangerous madmen are those created by religion! History however, is replete with the stories of Jihadis (soldiers of the Holy War), who at some point during their fight for religion realize that they have taken a very extremely erroneous decision. Holed out at Bhavna’s house, the widow of a doctor they had once killed on the suspicion of being an informer of the army, Altaaf (Hyder Kazmi) undergoes a metamorphosis and realizes that the true meaning of Jihad is not the holy war outside but the war within and though it is too late he is convinced that firearms can give death, not life! And Jihad is nothing else but overpowering the inner devil which is actually lurking inside you.

The film was shot in sensitive arenas in Kashmir like Kupwara, Charari Sharif, Doodh Ganga and Yusmarg, where hitherto not a single film has been shot extensively. Despite a space of several years the wounds inflicted by the Indian army in Kashmir are still fresh in Altaaf’s mind when he joins the terrorist outfit with the pious thoughts of wiping away the enemies of Islam. Little does Altaf know that he had in turn, gullibly fallen into the trap of people with vested interest and crooked ideas.

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The film revolves around how he undergoes a 360 degrees transformation when Altaaf meets Bhavna (Alfeeya), the pretty widow of a doctor they had once killed on the suspicion of being an informer of the army. While he is holed out at Bhavna’s house, Altaaf undergoes a strange inexplicable metamorphosis as he witnesses Bhavna’s plight and helplessness. The film ends on a not so positive note even while driving home the subtle as well as poignant message that Jihad does not mean killing innocent people and anyone who resorts to jihad in the name of killing the innocent civilians ought to pay for his folly

As far as performances go, Hyder Kazmi who has also produced the sensitive film delivers a well chiseled performance as Altaf by getting into the skin of his complex role which has several layers with effortless ease. Alfeeya as the innocent widow Bhavana plays the perfect foil to him and though she is repulsed by him in the beginning, she is gradually attracted towards him when she realizes that he has a heart of gold.

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After war films like Bhuj amd Shershaah, the film is a sincere attempt on the part of Hyder Kazmi who has not incorporated it with any commercial ingredient to cater to the lowest common denominator. Rakesh Parmar deserves kudos for making a complex subject like this though I wish he had edited it to make the film slicker as it loses grip once in a while as the plot meanders on and on. Cinematography by Ram Yadav is first rate while music by Aman Shlok hinders the continuity of the otherwise well crafted film.