Tuesday, April 23, 2024
HomeOpinionsThe Kashmir Files- (non)review

The Kashmir Files- (non)review

Also Read

12 March 2022 12:00 AM

I think I did a lot of social media activism to get people to see this movie because I thought a lot about it, about the power of the truth that I had researched and read. I genuinely felt everyone needed to know the truth, to have an entire picture, to know the other side. I called it a movie with the impetus for Bharat’s healing and a solution for polarization. I was genuinely looking forward to this. I had little idea of what waited for me on the other side. What I’m about to write may not be clear, conclusive or even in the same language because that’s exactly what is going on in my head- A whole lot of unrest, call it a “thought storm”. The Kashmir Files isn’t an ordinary movie that you see in OTT, just chill and eat, watch review and forget. It truly is a cinematic experience. I mean out of all of this the most ridiculous part would be reviewing the Kashmir files (not the forgetting part but we’ll get to that later).

What waited for me on the once the credits had ended is something that’s beyond my current comprehension because it’s making me question the very things, I thought I knew as my core processes, question my mental faculties that render me capable of building a thought, a narrative. I didn’t sit through the entire credits because of my habituation to mcu, I was just too numb to move, all the crying had hollowed me out. I didn’t even realize that 3 hours had passed. For anyone who thinks “2 hours 50 minutes is too long Kaun dekhega itni lambi movie” or has seen the movie and is thinking it was stretched and could have been shorter, (fight me :P) I think both of these lines of thoughts are also ridiculous, because you really need that time to process what was going on, it’s so much to take in. Vivek Agnihotri ji utilized every second of the amount of time the Kashmir files was rolling, every single second.

I don’t think I can fully give justice to describing the acting of each and every one of the cast members without giving spoilers, so I will be sticking to the (not so sankshipt) Saransh- I thought I knew pain and suffering till I saw Bhasha Sumbli ji and most of all Anupam Kher ji. Every single review (barring film companion) and feedback I saw was raving Anupam Ji’s acting and calling it his best role he ever played and now I know why. In the 2 hours and 50 minutes I felt like this is the first time in my existence that I’m feeling pain and suffering or even emotions. In my head, I had such a strong empathetic connection with Pushkarnath Pandit that it felt like we were of one mind. I felt his trauma and pain as if my own, his loss as if my own, felt my heart breaking with every breakdown of his on screen. I felt the love Pushkarnath Pandit has in his heart for his family. I felt his desperation and helplessness in trying to convince Krishna. I need no explanation for his nondisclosure of their family history to Krishna.

I felt his abandonment. Even now as I write this, I realize I haven’t left the connection with Pushkarnath Pandit behind, and I can’t stop my tears and my crying. I can’t even detach from his dementia, so much so that I think it’s what’s brought on my thought storm. There’s still so much to unpack and process, only Anupam ji could do this role. I still can’t figure out if Anupam ji was born for this role or the role for him. Mithunda’s Brahma Dutt said “tute hue log bolte nahi hai, unhe suna jata hai” and I hope I was able to hear Pushkarnath Pandit with the honor and love he deserved. When one faces a tragedy, a trauma, there is this brief period when a person can’t react, and Bhasha ji nails this numbness. Bhasha Ji’s acting was so real that I’d rather not return to it now lest I suffer a major breakdown rendering me completely useless till the foreseeable future. Prithviraj Sarnaik’s Shiva Pandit will stay with me and haunt me for days to come. What I can’t fathom in my late 20s Prithviraj just beautifully, heartbreakingly portrayed…..It’s just like Krishna says “Kashmir ka sach itna sach hai ki woh jhoonth hi lagta hai” and this jhoonth is also so inconvenient and gut wrenching that it’s suppression is inevitable.

Darshan Kumar’s journey as Krishna might feel like it’s rushed to some, but I could see where his cognitive dissonance and confusion came from and hence, so his speech didn’t feel like it was sudden and out of the blue. It was like the scattered pieces in his head finally fit and something clicked. In my head I could see Krishna growing up hearing these stories while being raised by Pushkarnath and being at conflict with what was taught in school, colleges and the mainstream narrative. Darshan Kumar is a gem. Pallavi Joshi and Chinmay Mandlekar are two actors I have always loved and what they brought to the screen didn’t make me hate them for playing the villains, for I was far too scared of the sinister characters they played and their malevolent thought processes. The rest of the supporting cast just helped make the Kashmir files coherent, that even though I may not be naming them individually, I know they are irreplaceable. Now coming back to my thought storm and talk of the other side, I realized that for anyone, paying attention, would ever so subtly feel like their belief system is being shaken. You see most people now believe in the whole concept of multiple narratives of one side, the other side, and listening to every aspect of the truth and the Kashmir files is a slap to that concept. Because the truth is the truth, it’s absolute, koi sikka nahi hai ki uske do pehlu honge.

And then the point of ridiculousness of reviewing, well if the reader noticed, I stopped labelling Kashmir files as a movie after the 3rd time because it’s not a movie, it’s a platform to present the history, one can’t review history and label it as good or bad. History by its very nature should be factual, and facts are facts, incapable of being good or bad while being capable of generating good and bad feelings about them. And what this history made me feel was hollow, empty after all the crying (and there was a lot of it), and guilt and shame. I like the rest of India are guilty of denying the Kashmiri Hindus their right to justice. We should be ashamed of our inaction. I also feel guilty for my unnecessary anger towards all those Aazaadijeevis and red DP for Kashmir folks. Vivek Agnihotri’s cinematic genius was revealed to me with the Kashmir files, for I don’t think anyone else could have presented the history so brutally and brilliantly. His genius wasn’t just limited to what was shown on screen but his presenting of the various point of views and bringing them together so coherently in a marvelous script (any Kunal Kamra fans reading this? :P) that before today my limited mind could only see the movies made previously on the Kashmir issue as atrocious and pathetic propaganda (Mission Kashmir, Haider, Shikara) despite being so well made.

But now I get them because I finally understand the limited sensibilities of their makers. Another core-shaking line by Mithun da actually addresses these sensibilities eloquently “kaisi Vidambana hai, Kashmir ko jannat mante hai aur iss jannat ko jahannum banane wale bhi jihaad isliye karte hai ki unhe jannat mile”. Both Religious Zealots and leftists believe in this Utopia-(their) Jannat with such passion and sincerity, it’s the core of what makes them extremists and view the whole rest of the world as oppressors for not agreeing with them. For them the government, the army, the system, the Brahmins/Pandits are the root of all evil, so they stop at nothing to eradicate the very fabric of existence of all who oppose or resist them. And this is where I feel that my instinct about the Kashmir files containing the parts of the key to address the current polarization (as mentioned in my previous article).

Now on to the existential question raised by this movie “What is Justice”, according to me the crux of this extraordinary movie- I think after all this time and suffering we should ask the Kashmiri Hindu community what would be justice for them. Merely resettlement isn’t enough, we need to ensure that we’ve made a system where there isn’t any scope for another exodus and future attempts at genocide. We need to ensure that we respect and honor the Kashmiri Hindus, and acknowledge that their existence is a gift to humanity. We also need to remember what happened in 1990 wasn’t just a political genocide, religious ethnocide but a humanitarian crisis. This movie honestly depicted what happens to a community when there’s lack of humanity. Walking out of the theatre I was feeling heartbroken, hollow and guilty but now as I try to conclude, all I can say is Please watch this movie no matter what your beliefs and political inclinations are, and if possible do watch it twice, I know I will.

  Support Us  

OpIndia is not rich like the mainstream media. Even a small contribution by you will help us keep running. Consider making a voluntary payment.

Trending now

- Advertisement -

Latest News

Recently Popular