The Kashmir Files: Digging into the past to revive tales untold

The Kashmir Files
Mithun Chakraborty, Anupam Kher and Darshan Kumar play prominent roles in the movie The Kashmir Files. Movie poster

Biographies, chronicles or awe-inspiring chapters from the annals of history have always fascinated movie lovers. And, when they are explored through the less trodden path, they become extremely exciting. The Kashmir Files written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri is one such fictional take on the widely disputed and debated topic of the genocide and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in the 1990s.

The plot trails the path of a Kashmiri youth Krishna Pandit (Darshan Kumar) who as an infant had to exit from his homeland. He is now pursuing his higher studies in Delhi. Krishna is on exile along with his grandfather Pushkar Nath (Anupam Kher) who had survived the carnage after his son, daughter-in-law and grandson perished in the massacre unleashed by the terrorists.

The narrative pieces together flashbacks of the strife and the present movements of protests to unravel the topic of Kashmir. The early part of the 2 hour-43 minute movie depicts the terror and the insecurity the Pushkar Nath Pandit's community in their home town. Moving back to the present, the story has Brahma Dutt (Mithun Chakraborty) an IAS officer and his wife Lakshmi Dutt (Mrinal Kulkarni), Dr. Mahesh Kumar (Prakash Belawadi), DGP Hari Narain (Puneet Issar) and Journalist Vishnu Ram (Atul Srivastava), who had in one way or the other come into contact with Pushkar Nath way back in the 90s.

Coming together from different parts of the globe, they rewind a past they had lost the grip of.

Krishna, who so far had been misinformed about how he lost his parents Karan Pandit, (Amaan Iqbal) and Sharda Pandit (Bhasha Sumbli) and his elder brother Shiva Pandit (Prithviraj Sarnaik), gets suspicious about the actual reason when he deciphers some mismatching accounts in the conversation of his hosts.

Krishna represents the ordinary youth confused about what to believe and what not to regarding Kashmir. He is unable to take a firm stand on the issue thanks to half truths and post truths the milieu is fraught with.

When he is briefed about the rights of one side he voices vehemently for it and when stories of the other side is revealed, he stands confused and aghast at the diverse versions of the same event.

Meanwhile, Rahdika Menon (Pallavi Joshi) a professor, acts as the fulcrum of ideologies, which drive Krishna to become a leader who can stand for Kashmiris.

Farooq Malik Bitta (Chinmay Mandlekar) leads the atrocities and despatches relentless tirade against Pandits, which peaks in the genocide.

An epitome of xenophobia and hatred, he later flips the card and denies all the bloodshed and evil acts masterminded by him.

That our perceptions of the past are founded only on written accounts and hearsay but how far they do justice to the truth is again a subject of debate.

But as a fiction the tale of 'The Kashmir Files' is a gripping one and carries the viewers along the emotional troughs and crests of the drama.

Kashmir is presented in the movie as a paradox of 'hope for a solution that never exists', and the government and the media are slammed for the plight of Kashmiri people. However, it spills one savoury note as something that can salvage any turmoil – love.

Udaysingh Mohite's cinematography captures the beauty of Kashmir, its cultural hues, the horror of living in the Valley and the eerie pangs of fleeing a beautiful homeland.

Music by Rohit Sharma embraces you softly, akin to the snowy chill of the paradise on earth.

The movie is now streaming on Zee 5.

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