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It is not a hate film, it digitally documents the genocide: A Kashmiri Pandit reviews The Kashmir Files The Kashmir Files

It is not a hate film, it digitally documents the genocide: A Kashmiri Pandit reviews The Kashmir Files

Amit Gurtu | @indiablooms | 19 Mar 2022, 12:11 pm

Cinema has a unique quality of recreating life. It makes a big impact on the viewer. Has a long shelf life and repeat value.

An honest KP (Kashmiri Pandit) story on celluloid was long overdue. The Kashmir Files by filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri digitally documents our Genocide as it happened.

It's a landmark in recent KP history. It has given vent to our pent up emotions. Made the world take note and debate our cause.

Earlier we used to shout but nobody listened. Now people ask. They wish to listen. They wish to know. They empathize. They want to lend their support for our cause.

This film may also prove to be a catharsis for many KPs. Acknowledgement of their Genocide and justice may provide some balm to their bruised souls. This movie is KP specific as there was none till now. It's their voice which will resonate loud and far.

It's certainly not a hate film. Those who feel so have fallen for the propaganda of vested interests without watching the film.

I request KM (Kashmiri Muslim) brethren to watch this film and then discuss facts. It is not one sided. It has touched different aspects of the turmoil. It would make them honestly introspect. Understand what went wrong and help them in course correction.

The film switches between 89-90 and present times. Starting with showcasing the circumstances leading to the Exodus. The sloganeering, threats , targeted killings, violent processions etc. The complete surrender or connivance of state machinery. Turning a blind eye by the central govt despite multiple SOS from honest administrators. All this is seen through the lives of Mr Pushkar Nath Pandit and his family.

Mr Anupam Kher in the role of Pushkar Nath has poured his heart and soul into it. He personifies a typical middle aged KP of 1990 who has lost his home. He conveys the mental agony of Exodus with all the nuances. His longing for home till last breath is heart piercing.

The use of Kashmiri traditional songs which he hums or plays in the background while he remembers his home choked me with emotions. We lost most of our elders nursing an unfulfilled dream of returning to their ancestral land. Bhasha Sumbli as his daughter-in-law is just brilliant.

The scene where she begs for the life of her husband who has hid himself in a rice drum is gut wrenching.

Mithun Chakravorty as IAS Brahm Dutt shows his class as an actor. His role accurately showcases the helplessness of an honest administrator in Kashmir.

Pallavi Joshi is convincing as leftist who brainwashes students on campus in Kashmir for her power gains. Darshan Kumar as Krishna Pandit, grandson of Pushkar Nath is the main protagonist of the film.

His passionate speech at the end forms the crux of the movie.

The movie is well made. It has technical excellence and visual brilliance. The dialogues are crisp and thought provoking. It has powerful background music recorded in Budapest. These evoke strong emotions as the music of Charlie Chaplin silent films did.

Some observations like the demand for Homeland by KPs could have been included and highlighted in the film. Stories and circumstances of few more families could have been shown broadening the scope of understanding for a non Kashmiri viewer.

However the director has done his best to accommodate as much in a 2.5 hrs film running time.

I hope this is the first among many of such films.

There is so much more to be told.

(Amit Gurtu is a Srinagar-born Kashmiri Pandit who left the Valley in January 1990. He lives in Delhi with his family. This is an independent review of the film by the writer.)

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