Stars: Four

Vidhu Vinod Chopra comes back after years to present a story that hits close home, about the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits when they were displaced from their home and hearth in 1990.

A love story that sustains through the trauma and turbulence of having been suddenly displaced from an idyllic life to a refugee status is chronicled rather sensitively and beautifully by Chopra and his team of writers (screenplay written by Chopra along with Rahul Pandita and Abhijat Joshi). Shiv (Aadil Khan) , a poet, meets and falls in love with Shanti Sapru (Sadia) by chance.

The romance culminates into marriage and all seems blissful as they move into their own house and call it Shikaara. However, it is short lived. Soon, the couple and their families are forced to flee to Delhi, as Islamic insurgents take over and there is threat to their lives.

While the story stresses upon the plight of the Kashmiri Pundits, especially its lead pair, it disappoints at some level as we are not really exposed to the other side of the story and there is a lack of reference to context as to why the situation ended up being so drastic.

While the reason for the change in the climate and the political involvement is shown in bits and parts, it ends up being unsatisfactory for someone who hopes to see the whole picture. .Shot mostly in Kashmir, the film brings the breath taking valley alive with amazing cinematography (Rangarajan Ramabadran).

So much so, that the beautiful background often becomes the main attraction and difficult to peal your eyes away from. Aadil Khan, even though his debut film, impresses with his mature performance as he goes through the trauma of losing his loved ones in the most unexpected circumstances. Sadia is pleasant to look at and gives good support.

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Free Press Journal