Connect with us

Movie Reviews

The Kashmir Files review: A stinging slap on the face

It is ultimately the triumph of the filmmaker who proves that he can make an effective film without piggy backing on ‘stars who sell’ but with first rate artistes.



The Kashmir Files


Producers: Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri and Pallavi Joshi

Director: Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri

Cast: Mithun Chakraborty, Anupam Kher, Darshan Kumaar, Pallavi Joshi, Puneet Issar, Prakash Belawadi, Chinmay Mandlekar, Mrinal Kulkarni and Atul Srivastava

Platform of Release: Theatrical


By Jyothi Venkatesh

Based on a true story of the victims of the genocide in Kashmir, the emotionally triggering film disturbs the viewers by setting out to shed light on the plight of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits, a religious minority in the 1990s Kashmir valley, who were forcibly made to flee their soil by the dreaded Islamic militants. Rendered refugees in their own so called Independent country, based on testimonials of the survivors, the film makes a strong argument that this wasn’t just an exodus, but an out and out barbaric genocide that continues to be brushed under the carpet for political reasons. There were 21 houseful shows every day at the multiplex Inox at Malad where I watched the film in pin drop silence.

The film recreates these real life incidents and we see them through the eyes of an aging nationalist, Pushkar Nath Pandit (Anupam Kher), his four best friends and his on-the-fence grandson, Krishna (Darshan Kumaar). Oblivious to his past, Krishna’s quest for the basic truth forms the story. You are heart broken and sad when you get to see the incident of telecom engineer BK Ganjoo being murdered in a rice barrel, Nadimarg massacre where 24 Hindu Kashmiri Pandits were killed by militants dressed in combat uniforms, or defamatory slogans.

Also read: Bachchhan Paandey review: Illogical and Over the Top

The beauty of this gem of a film which sets out to break every possible rule in filmmaking and does not cater to the common denominator but places the fact as it is and hurts you far more is that it skims through multiple issues in its own style and takes digs at JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University), likens the media to terrorist ki rakhail, selective biased reportage of foreign media, the Indian Army, political warfare, abrogation of Article 370 and mythology and ancient history of Kashmir and the master minds preventing not only the telephones but also the internet in the valley — all at once.

Each and every actor in the film stands out with a terrific performance of his or her own. While Anupam Kher’s diligent and heart-aching performance leaves a lump in your throat, as a Pandit pining for his lost home, Pallavi Joshi as the firm teacher in the college in the valley is effective, though frankly you feel that given her acting prowess, you wish her complex, yet subtle character was even more layered. Chinmay Mandlekar and Mithun Chakraborty are competent in their respective roles as the hard core militant and the helpless super cop in the valley who is manipulated by the politicians. Prakash Belawadi is effective while Puneet Issar proves that given a good role, he is capable of delivering his best. Atul Srivastava deserves kudos for tackling his complex role as the ‘sold out’ scribe effectively.

Also read: The Kashmir Files premieres in Ladakh at Picturetime’s inflatable theatre

In spite of the ghastly excesses the film sets out to show (the terrorist forcing a wife to sup on the blood of her husband, a live woman being sawed in half), the Pandit bahu being stripped in public, what emerges is the deep-seated anger and the angst of the poor Kashmiri Pandits, the film is a must to relive the past and learn from our mistakes. It is ultimately the triumph of the filmmaker who proves that he can make an effective film without piggy backing on ‘stars who sell’ but with first rate artistes.