Shikara Movie Review: Love that stands test of time, war & conflict

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Shikara Movie Story: Centred around the mass evacuation of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990, the story traces the life of young newlyweds, Shiv Kumar Dhar (Aadil Khan) and Shanti Dhar (Sadia), who flee their homeland and take refuge at a camp in Jammu, with the promise that they will return home a day.

SHIKARA MOVIE REVIEW: The setting is late 80s and the communal tension in the scenic valley of Kashmir is rising at an alarming rate with each passing day. Yet, his demure and docile wife Shanti and literature enthusiast Shiv are convinced they are safe in the neighbourhood they have known for decades now.

But, as years pass by, the seriousness of widespread violence that is religious exceeds of thousands of other Kashmiri Pandits and this couple’s supposition, and then, they are struck with the dreadful exodus of January 19, 1990. Standing at the brink of losing everything they needed, Shanti and Shiva are now torn between two choices that were equally tough — leave behind their beloved birthplace and save their lives or stay back and face the aftermath of a battle against their community.

If it’s not evident, Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s’Shikara’ is an attempt to bring to light the plight of Kashmiri Pandits and their insurmountable strength and courage. Remaining true to the 90s era and the widespread during that period, his romantic drama, rolls through an innocent love story between two perpetual optimists.

SHIKARA MOVIE CAST

Then, blends it with the real-life story of continuous conflict between the Muslim extremists and the Kashmiri Pandits from the valley, finally, wrap it up with the theme he had originally started out with — how pure love can withstand many a battle, even of warfare and bloodshed. The writer-director throws in subplots reel and real — without derailing from the central theme once.

As there are components to keep one guessing about what is going to unfold however, the narrative is exciting and cinematically engaging in the first half. While the second half is more invested in the love story — which does feel dated, predictable and far-fetched at times. Also, considering it’s a drama that is historical, it is quite disappointing to witness the film does not go from the other side of the incident beyond a few fleeting mentions of the people’s ordeal . And of course, some parts of the screenplay of’Shikara’ look all too convenient like it was written to rush back to the subject of romance.

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Debutants Sadia and Aadil Khan make an attractive pair to watch on screen. Sadia, with her infectious smile, is a natural in parts where she is playing the role that is younger. Aadil’s depiction of an amateur poet doesn’t resonate half as much as his portrayal of an older guy.

The music and background score (A.R Rahman and Sandesh Shandilya) of ‘Shikara’ is like balm for the soul, with able support from lyricist Irshad Kamil.

To sum this up, Vindhu Vinod Chopra’s’Shikara’ will cater to a particular part of the audience’s sensibilities. At the larger picture, this love does not really grip you and keep you engaged for too long, although at some level, it works as a love story.

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