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The Kashmir Files Review

March 11, 2022 16:36 IST

The Kashmir Files is not an easy film to watch.
It makes you realise that if we are alive today, it's a privilege and not something that should be taken for granted, observes Joginder Tuteja.

When Vivek Agnihotri made The Tashkent Files, the film was a surprise success at the box office. On the basis of word of mouth amongst its target audience, it continued to grow on a day by day basis and eventually not just recovered its costs, but also earned good profits.

Soon after the success of The Tashkent Files, Vivek announced The Kashmir Files and began research on the film, which also included crowd sourcing.

Well, the results are there to see. The Kashmir Files is a 'people's film' more than anyone else's. It's not a fictional tale where a bunch of writers came together to spin a tale.

It's a chronicle of what really happened back in 1990 during the exodus (or genocide, as Mithun Chakraborty says at the film's beginning) of the Kashmiri Pandits and that's what makes the film stand out.

You hear the stories of people by the people, something that is the core strength of this 3 hour film. Considering the material that was in hand, one can appreciate the running length of the film.

It could well have been a Web series, but Vivek chose to narrate the story in a feature film format and that's what makes the length much longer than a conventional theatrical release.

The film moves at a mid level pace where neither are the proceedings way too fast nor too slow.

Be it the opening scene where a young Kashmiri Pandit child plays cricket with the commentary in the background as Imran Khan bowls to Sachin Tendulkar or a sudden incident that occurs when a friendly policeman tries to soothe a worried woman, there are shocking moments galore.

At times, in the name of shocking the audience, some film-makers tend to glorify the violence or make some scenes truly cringe worthy.

In The Kashmir Files, Vivek says things as they are without making the screen look gory or the violence brutal.

Instead, there are subtexts and metaphors that are presented to the viewer with certain moments even left incomplete for interpretation coming into play, resulting in an even bigger impact.

An ensemble affair, the film primarily tells the story of a displaced Kashmiri Pandit family where Anupam Kher -- a Kashmiri Pandit in real life -- is the last man standing and his grandson Darshan Kumar is confused about his identity and what results in him being pushed out of Kashmir.

The one who holds the screen with his towering presence is Mithun Chakraborty, playing an ex-IAS officer fighting the system, who shows what he is made of.

As for Pallavi Joshi as a professor who has her own definition of 'azaadi' and aims to take her students alongside as well, there is ironic entertainment whenever she comes on screen.

The Kashmir Files is not an easy film to watch. It isn't the kind of movie where you want to munch a bag of nachos and sip that cola while checking your cellphone.

Instead, the film makes you realise that if we are alive today, it's a privilege and not something that should be taken for granted.

Rediff Rating: