" It catches the small details quite beautifully like the lost taste of Rogan Josh, the dish isn't a treat to the mouth now it is a treat which carries bitter, dreadful memories. You got lost in that pain for a while but after some time you question the reason for the pain."
Shikara thrives beautifully by showing an intimate and genuine love story and nostalgia trips but as a movie dedicated to Kashmiri Pandits, it never really touches the cause and misery of the Kashmiri Pandits.
Shikara starts in 2018, the protagonist is writing a letter to the President hoping for a miracle to happen so that he goes back to his home with his family. Then we see the love story of Aadil Khan as Shiv Kumar Dhar and Sadia as Shanti. Gradually the terror strikes but it takes a slow route. The beautiful Kashmir around them settles into dust but the reasons are never clearly shown. The sudden change of hearts of one community against another never really takes the center stage. Kashmiri Pandits are sent to temporary camps in Jammu. Shanti prays for the last time to some idols and collects some small idol statutes in her bag.
The film wants you to sympathize with the misery of living in a camp but it never takes a dreadful turn, it wants you to feel the pain but never really shows the pain. It catches the small details quite beautifully like the lost taste of Rogan Josh, the dish isn't a treat to the mouth now it is a treat which carries bitter, dreadful memories. You got lost in that pain for a while but after some time you question the reason for the pain.
After years, they return to Kashmir and the way Shiv cries just by seeing his homeland with running poetry in the background feels so genuine. Shanti not enjoying a flashy wedding with masala song and getting delighted only when she hears the sound of Kashmiri folk wedding music, that scene shows how Vidhu caught the most intricate details as possible.
I would have loved the movie if the header suggested the movie to be " A unique love story of two Kashmiri Pandits" rather than " An Untold Story Of Kashmiri Pandits." As a story and a tribute to 4,00,000 Indians who are living as refugees in their own nation, this movie seems to take a soft turn rather than a bold on . The political agendas never seem to be mentioned clearly, the misery, the terror is shown in bits and pieces. It is a very personal project of the director and you can sense that but it carries a responsibility with its tag but Vidhu just overlooks the responsibility.
Aadil Khan as Shiv and Sadia as Shanti were amazing, they both acted beautifully. The zooming out, gully shots were well-coordinated. Everything is shown just on the surface and the film never really tries to go beyond the surface and extract the root of everything. The dialogues are well-knitted especially the short shayaris of the protagonist . Music by A.R Rahman is melodious and impactful.
Overall, the movie could have been a good emotional tribute to Kashmiri Pandit's story but it takes a sweet route with very neat-detailing instead of a bold one which diminishes the work towards the responsibility that comes with such a topic.
FINAL VERDICT - 2.5 / 5