Kashmir described as heaven on Earth has attracted filmmakers since the sixties. We have seen our beautiful leading ladies sitting decked in the houseboats as they were serenaded by equally charming men. Militancy changed the projection of Kashmir in Bollywood and we had stories with the backdrop of terrorism. One aspect that was ignored was the state of families whose members went missing and never returned. No Fathers in Kashmir deals with this emotional loss. The film is directed by Ashvin Kumar and stars newbie Zara Webb in the lead role. Kulbushan Kharbanda, Soni Razdan and Anshuman Jha also form part of the star cast.
What is it about?
Noor (Zara Webb), a British Kashmiri girl comes home to her paternal grandparents in Kashmir. She befriends Majid (Shivam Raina) and sets out to trace her father's remains. The journey comes with its own peril and she is now at the risk of losing Majid who gets arrested. In the process of securing his release, she finds out some uncomfortable truths and has to make peace with it.
What is hot...
First things first, the cinematographers Jean-Marie Delorme and Jean-Marc Selva have done a fab job. The mist, conifers and local life of Kashmir is beautifully captured. They capture the haunting mood of the film to the tee. Zara Webb is a natural and so is Shivam Raina. They have a great chemistry and do full justice to their roles. Anshuman Jha as the Army major is stoic and effective. Kulbushan Kharbanda stands out as the patriarch who has accepted his fate and has the heart to forgive. Steve Bond does a good job in the sound department. The screenplay is a little slow but the film has the shock value.
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What is not...
While some of the characters are well developed, others feel a bit sketchy. The film could have done with some more emotional quotient. Some might question the logic that how the grandparents allowed the girl to roam around the valley so freely. While the valley is beautifully shot, the background score could have been better.
No Fathers in Kashmir is an emotional story and you can watch it for some solid performances and great visuals of the valley. The film captures the contrasting landscape of the place where people with melancholic, cynical hearts reside in the midst of beauty.
2.5 out of 5
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