Free Press Journal

Movie Review: Kaafiron Ki Namaaz – Drama-tricks without validity


Cast: Alok Chaturvedi, Chandra Shekhar Dutta, Joydip Mukhopadhyay

Director: Ram Ramesh Sharma

Rating: * *

Runtime: 149 mins

A well intentioned though precipitously contrived and overly dramatized thriller, this film about an interview between a court-martialed army man and a noted author that goes bad over the course of a few hours leading to a unexpected stand-off that puts both their lives in peril.

The movie starts off intriguingly with a revered depiction of the Kashmir landscape while testimonies from women raped by the armed forces are sounded out in the background. It’s quite a haunting  and beguiling opening for a film that fails to live up to it’s initial promise. The camerawork is startlingly beautiful and Kashmir has been shot with fresh imagination and vivacity of an auteur. That doesn’t last very long though. Especially when the camera wanders into the close confines of an abandoned Pandit’s house that has become the hideout for the court-martialed army officer. It’s freezing outside, the rain is falling in torrents and the blood splattered window panes stand testimony to the brutality within. On the inside the two men are measuring each other while squaring off for the challenge of shredding the mask of patriotism and country pride to expose the hidden depravity within the man sent on a mission to protect the rights of the innocent people. Startling revelations and trivial conversations tumble out in jumbled unbecoming fashion. The interviewer becomes aggressive and tries to show up his interviewee while the army man is more intent on justifying his acts of commission that mark him as a criminal.

The film actually loses heft the minute the camera enters the abandoned confines of the one storey tenement. What looked natural and inveigling becomes stagey and forced thereafter. The characters don’t really make sense in their interactions and the lack of purpose thereof kills the suspense. What was once thought intriguing ends up as gamey and unpardonably contrived with the performers engaging in heavy duty theatrics and losing sight of what the intent of the whole exercise was.

The startlingly evocative opening act is ruined by poor writing, inappropriate dialogue and implausible posturing on the part of the actors. The editing could have been much sharper and the writing a little more focused. The director/ writer Ram Ramesh Sharma tries to shore up the weak structure with a plethora of causes but it just doesn’t hold true. Even the run-time stretches beyond bearable limits . While there are a few moments in this film that appear sublime and praise worthy, most of it is just pointless drivel.

Ram Ramesh Sharma would do well to get his next script whetted and appropriately trimmed by an expert before venturing out into his next production. I am just sorry that something promising was set adrift in order to pave the wave for unpleasant gimmickry!