'The Kashmir Files' review: Keep your tissues ready
The conflict in Kashmir finds its roots in 1947 and since then, this territorial fight has left thousands dead and innumerable people reeling from the consequences. Writer-director Vivek Agnihotri focuses on a singular event from this ongoing decades-long struggle—the genocide of the Kashmiri Pandits in 1990—in his latest Hindi film The Kashmir Files. But how does he fare? Here's our review.
This is the plot of the movie
Agnihotri shows us the horrendous ordeal of lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits through a Kashmiri Pandit, philosophy professor Pushkar Pandit's (Anupam Kher) lens. He and his family were forced to leave their home overnight in the exodus. Now, 30 years later, his grandson Krishna (Darshan Kumaar) meets with four of Pandit's friends to know what exactly happened years ago with his family and Kashmiri Pandits.
Narrative gets slightly shaken up in the second half
From the opening sequence, makers hit viewers with unrestrained violence and cruelty right in the face. This suffocatingly brutal portrayal of killings and torture is hard to sit through but keeps you hooked throughout the first half. After the interval, however, the narrative appears shaky and Kumaar's ending monolog is stretched out with a meek impact. Multiple "whys" go unanswered here and there.
Kher gives spine-chilling performance; Bhasha Sumbli deserves special mention
Coming to performances, Kher is breathtaking. He owns the pain, betrayal, and struggles that victims of conflict face. Kumaar, along with Mithun Chakraborty, Pallavi Joshi, Chinmay Mandlekar give natural performances with what the script allows them to. Bhasha Sumbli as Sharda deserves a special mention.
It isn't a simple watch, the visuals keep haunting you
Disturbingly, Kashmiri Pandits continue to hope for justice even after 30 years. In perhaps his best film till date, Agnihotri brings the sufferings of these families with genuineness. What it lacks in nuance is compensated by the authenticity and thorough research. It is not a simple watch. Even if you have read about the horrific incidents, nothing prepares you to watch this on 70mm.
'The Kashmir Files' brought forth massive crowd
As per the box office numbers, the film is doing exceptionally well despite getting a limited release. I personally saw the biggest crowd in theaters in the post-COVID-19 period, defeating the likes of The Batman and Gangubai Kathiawadi. Verdict: 4.5/5 stars.