No Fathers In Kashmir Film Review – A Poignant Tale Of Love and bitterness in the valley.
Cast: Kulbhusan Kharbanda, Soni Razdan, Ashuman Jha, Zara Webb, Shivam Raina.
Director: Ashvin Kumar
The film is a sensitive take on the political scene in the lovely valley and the lives of ordinary Kashmiris through the eyes of two Kashmiri teenagers. A touching teenage love story happening in the burning alleys of Kashmir.
Last few days Bollywood has churned 2 movies based on the sensitive environment of Kashmir. Revolving around militancy, terrorism’ and its impact on lives. Due to which, families get broken and destroyed, children orphaned and women widowed.
Two films “Hamid” and “Widow Of Silence” based on similar lines showcase the helplessness and the pathetic situation of the people. In Hamid, the innocence and emotions are portrayed through the eyes of an 8-year boy.
No Fathers tries to uncover the deep angst of the people of Kashmir where nobody knows who is an enemy and who is a real friend. The fabric of the society is entangled in such a way that all men are regarded as terrorists or aiding Pakistan by the army. So most of the men are missing and families are abandoned and children without fathers. It’s a bleak scenario.
Ashwin tries to bring a touch of emotion and politics in an equal quantity which kind of derails the script. The film does not come across as a political drama nor a full-fledged love story. So there is a bit of a disbalance and the film is neither a sincere take on tragedy or romance.
The protagonist of the story is Noor a British Kashmiri teenager who comes to the valley in search of her missing father and her painful journey through the dark secrets of a strife-ridden Kashmir. She is accompanied on this travail with her single mother and step-father. Zainab (Natasha Mago) is the mother who wants to move ahead in life and settle down with a new man and wants closure to a past long ended for her.
Majid, the hero is the son of Noors fathers best friend who has also disappeared without a clue. Both of them join hands in the tryst with destiny to find their fathers who both disappeared leaving their families devastated.
Noors grandparents are essayed by veteran actors Kulbhusan Kharbanda and Soni Razdan. Soni does an awesome job as the granny who is all patience and goodness glorified and Kharbanda lucidly portrays the mindset of a Kashmiri old man to the hilt.
Another supporting cast is a major (Anshuman) who almost rules the area and Parveena (Maya Sarao), Majids half-widow mother who makes ends meet by selling shawls.
The film tries to touch the conflict between India and Pakistan and the people suffering because of it. The deep void created in the valley because of the insurgency and the ugly fight. The real victims are the families suffering silently without much voice and taking the brunt of both the terrorists and militants.
The real story revolves around the love blossoming between Noor and Majid threw together for the same reason in a matchbox that is Kashmir of today. In rising insurgency how the teenagers love to strive to struggle and sustain. Their common goal of finding their fathers brings them closer until they stumble upon a deep dark secret which tears their life apart and takes them on to deeper violence and heartbreak.
An Urdu-English coming of age drama where Majid explains to Noor the significant difference between terrorists and militants. As per him, terrorists are lawbreakers and criminals whilst militants are like freedom fighters fighting for their own homeland.
No Fathers is not the run of the mill drama but would come in the category of parallel or real cinema. The pidgin English used and some other issues are not well played out. These make the storyline weak and are some of the drawbacks of the movie. But the film succeeds in raising a few questions which need to be answered.
No fathers leave you with a feeling of sadness and pithy long after you have left the theatre., thinking of the innumerable sons, brothers, father, husbands, who have simply disappeared without a clue. It gives a pathetic view of the valley and a deep sympathy for the families left behind in the beautiful haunting landscapes of Kashmir.