Cast: Aadil Khan, Sadia Khan
Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Shikara starts in the late 80s. The communal tension was increasing in the valley but Shiv (Aadil Khan) an aspiring poet and his wife Shanti (Sadia Khan) have faith that everything will eventually be all right. Some more years pass and the communal tension turns into widespread violence leaving Shiv and Shanti just like lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits with only two choices, stay back and hope everything will be normal or leave everything behind and save their lives forcing them to flee Kashmir in the historic mass exodus of January 19th, 1990.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra has tried to shed light on the suffering, pain, and courage of lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits in 'Shikara'. The film portrays the 90's era convincingly and unrest that as rampant in the valley in the decade. Chopra har smartly presented his film through the life of reel couple and weaved it with the thread of the real-life violence and struggle between the Islamic extremists and the Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir.
The screenplay of Shikara is more engaging in the first half of the film. Whereas the second half is more about the in the love story of the lead couple which feels old and outdated even predictable. Staying on the dramatic and factual part of the film might have helped it be more realistic and approachable but it is what it is. The film claims to be a historical drama but does not dive much into showcasing the real face of the situation. The story is written in such a way that it stays a romantic film rather than being a truly historic piece of cinema.
On the acting front, Aadil Khan as Shiv and Sadia Khan as Shanti have given their best to their characters. Their performance is commendable and their chemistry is good to watch. Sadia looks the part as an innocent and pure-hearted Shanti though Aadil could have worked more on his poetry to make it more convincing.
Shikara fares well on the music department as A.R Rahman and Sandesh Shandilya have done pretty impressive work here. Their music combined with Irshad Kamil's lyrics is a soothing treat for your ears.
All in all, Shikara is a love story, which even works for some part but not all. It has its moments but realistically speaking, the romantic lens of the film does not do justice to the plot and the real story. Can be watched once if you like a tragic romantic - drama or you can wait for Vivek Agnihotri's 'The Kashmir Files' that will hit the screens maybe around August or September. You decide.