Lamhaa Hindi Movie Review
It is a common sight in India. Whenever there's an accident, people gather around. Those in vehicles stop to watch, from a distance. Yet, very few among them dare to engage with the victims or the incident. The valley of 'Kashmir' is that roadside accident to rest of India.
Indians have for decades continuously stayed in denial about the most militarised place on the planet, Kashmir. Ask anyone in the nation, and all they have to say is the usual government rhetoric, that Kashmir is an integral part of India and will remain so.
Ask anyone about the 100 thousand who have died there, or the 10,000 men who have been abducted by the security forces and have then gone missing, and you'll see a shrug.
Kashmir is a 'political' problem. But a political problem has a human dimension to it, no one understands, or if they do, they don't care.
"Lamhaa" makes an attempt to infuse the personal with the political.
The army gets wind of some big operation by militants in Kashmir. Elections are about to take place there and not wanting to take any chances, they involve Major Vikram (Sanjay Dutt), who loves the beautiful valley, to investigate in disguise.
Haaji (Anupam Kher) is the biggest leader in the state who has been guiding the state since the 20 years. Opposing him is his once right hand man and an ex-militant who has turned to peace, Atif (Kunal Kapoor). After the death of Haaji's colleague in 1989, he had adopted his daughter Aziza (Bipasha Basu) and raised her as his own.
When an attempt is made on Haaji's life, both Vikram and Aziza try to find out why, even as the valley comes to a boiling point.
What the two discover is a web of conspiracy that threatens to derail Kashmir's only hope, and Aziza's love interest, Atif.
Rahul Dholakia has made a name for himself as an 'activist' filmmaker. First with "Parzania" and now with "Lamhaa", he proves that his heart, and even his politics, is in the right place. One only hopes that his filmmaking craft were as well.
"Lamhaa" suffers from too many conspiracies and characters because of which the pace of the film quickens. There's not enough time to meditate on a character, or a tragedy.
Audiences might find it little difficult to follow the many twists and revelations in the film.
However, Dholakia gets his politics and writing right. The film is filled with such obvious truths, which sadly due to the one-sided approach of the media, not many know.
Facts like it being the most militarised place in the world with the average people to army ratio being 15 to 1, or that it is indeed the most dangerous place on the planet.
It is the duty of art to raise issues that no one else does. Yet like the rest of the nation and media the arts, even cinema, has treated Kashmir as an anathema. Considering this point itself, Rahul Dholakia's "Lamhaa" deserves a million accolades.