Writer-filmmaker Ashvin Kumar returns to the Valley yet again with ‘No Fathers In Kashmir’
Film: No Fathers in Kashmir
Cast: Zara Webb, Shivam Raina, Soni Razdan, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Anshuman Jha
Direction: Ashvin Kumar
Written by: Ashvin Kumar
Duration: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Critic’s Rating: 3/5
Noor (Zara), a teenage British Kashmiri, retraces her roots to the Valley. She is joined by a local Kashmiri boy Majid (Shivam), who is smitten by her exoticness. He is keen to help her unravel the mysteries of their respective fathers, who have disappeared. When the two adolescents mistakenly land at a forbidden spot on the Indo-Pak border, they discover some uncomfortable truths. Majid’s worst fears come true when they’re caught by an army patrol. While Noor is released for being British, he is detained for interrogation. How far will she go to have him freed and will their love be the same again?
After Little Terrorist (2004), which was nominated for the Oscars and National Award-winning documentaries like Inshallah, Football (2010)and Inshallah, Kashmir (2012), writer-filmmaker Ashvin Kumar returns to the Valley yet again with No Fathers In Kashmir.
The film asks the question, ‘Do Kashmiris want a free state?’ Many born in this piece of Heaven on Earth have reservations about belonging to either India or Pakistan. Is the war for Kashmir one of the deadliest in modern-day history? Well, this film says that it is far worse than those being fought in other parts of the world.
Does the movie raise pertinent questions and emotions? Yes, it does. However, the first half is a complete mishmash. In a bid to educate the viewer on the difference between a militant (one who fights for freedom) and terrorist (one who is a criminal), the narrative wastes time by giving you a sideshow on many other aspects.
Noor’s quest to find her father is understood. Her restlessness holds. However, her mother’s new-found relationship with a diplomat and her grandparents’ (Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Soni Razdan) attempts to cope with their missing son is all predictable. A disturbed father writing letters to his son (who he hopes to see someday) and a mother’s outbursts when she remembers her child are emotions that could have been deeper.
In fact, the only thing that this film does (which is not so flattering for India) is that it shows you the cold face of the Indian Army patrolling our borders. That many men from the Valley who want a free Kashmir are viewed as ‘terrorists’ and randomly picked up makes you uncomfortable. Suddenly, the sight of the man in the military uniform makes you feel unsafe. And, traipsing in Kashmir (that is heartbreakingly beautiful) doesn’t seem too attractive either.
Verdict: The film presents a ‘controversial’ viewpoint on the Kashmir issue. Apart from this, the two youngsters — Zara and Shivam — are lovely. Give them a chance.