“Article 370, Much Much More Than A Motion Picture”- A Subhash K Jha Review

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

Our Rating

Article 370

I have just witnessed history. Director Aditya Suhas Jambhale’s Article 370, has that rare stamp of excellence on every frame that differentiates the pulpy propaganda of the Kashmir and Kerala kind from a film that actually has its research in place and is so focussed in telling a gripping though authentic story, that it forgets there are people out there, lots of them, who don’t want to hear the truth.

The truth, my beloved nation, is not always sugar-coated in cinema. Nor does it need to be unnecessarily brackish. Not that Article 370 takes the middlepath. Far from it. The film is crafted with the diligence of a Kashmiri carpet, at the same time it conveys the smooth moves of a shikara on Dal Lake. Even when a bomb goes off, there is no stopping absorb the shock.

Am I eulogizing a work that takes off from Frame One and never stops to catch its breath? I am! This is film that must be seen by every Indian. There are several episodes in this stunning political drama that are heartstopping in their intensity.

When we see the film’s hero Zooni Haksar (Yami Gautam) for the first time she is pretending to be a beautician paying a visit to a bratty girl in Srinagar who is in an affair with a hardcore terrorist (Burhan, if you must know).

The irony of a no-nonsense intelligence agent logging into the terror conclave that had taken over the Kashmir Valley with the connivance of local religious leaders and politicians, masquerading as a cosmetic agent is not lost on us.

This is an impressively staged chronicle of the events leading up to the abrogation of Article 370 in the Valley. It is volatile and vibrant. But seldom does it reach into the crevices of patriotic cliches to get brownie points.

And listen, there is not a shot of Indian flag anywhere! For a film which is fiercely patriotic at heart, that in itself is a miracle.

The atmosphere bristles with a reined-in tension. There is no room for smiles and love glances, although I suspect Zooni is in love with a fellow soldier Yash Chauhan (Vaibhav Tatwawadi). The only song that plays during the film is at a crucial juncture when Zooni, and we the audience, realize there was something between them. Too late.

The buildup towards the main event (the abrogation) is stealthy and serene. The camerawork (Siddharth Vasani) delicately picks the shards of the human consciousness out of the massive destruction in the Valley. It’s like looking at a broken mirror which reflects a truth that is unbearable but unavoidable.

The performances are uniformly brilliant. Yami Gautam and Priya Mani (as the PM’s special assistant) make two of the unlikeliest heroes of a political film. Yami’s monologue about the tragedy of a lost civilization and Priya Mani’s collection of sarees are almost parallel characters in the film which wastes no time on tears.

There is too much to do.

Some gimmicky performances, like Raj Zutsi as Kashmiri politician and Divya Seth as a Mehbooba-like CM , could have been avoided. These minor glitches apart, every component in this political drama is restrained , clenched and coiled.

And yes, Arun Govil is just right as PM Modi.

Our Rating

105 queries in 1.345 seconds.