Ravaged by divisive politics and religious conflicts, the once peaceful valley is now a hotbed of hatred and war. Several films and filmmakers have, over the years, explored the Kashmir situation; few have gone deeper to explore the human side of it. Life is a constant battle for innocent, ordinary people in the strife-torn region. Set against the backdrop of a nation long divided by politics and war, Hamid is a poignant human tale of loss, resilience and hope.
It’s a heartbreaking story of Ishrat (Rasika Dugal) whose husband (Sumit Kaul) has gone missing, her indefinite search thereafter and the trauma that comes with it; it’s the story of 8-year old Hamid (Talha Arshad Reshi) who hatches a naive plan to bring back his missing father. 786, Hamid is told, is Allah’s number. He dials up. After several failed attempts to connect with Allah, he comes up with an iteration of the number, which accidentally connects him to a CRPF jawaan (Vikas Kumar). He guilelessly believes it’s Allah. His innocent exchanges with the soldier form the narrative of Hamid.
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Rasika Dugal and Vikas Kumar are effortless and believable in their respective roles. There’s so much Dugal conveys without words, a hallmark of an accomplished actor. The young boy Talha was a natural and thoroughly convincing.
Ishrat here is only symbolic of the countless men and women who’ve lost their loved ones to the prolonged unrest in the region; the price they pay everyday and a burden they must bear for the rest of their lives. The conflict is both external and internal. And director Aijaz Khan examines it beautifully through the lens of humanity and hope.
What also makes Hamid beautiful is there’s no taking sides. The film shuns theatrics and never attempts to impose ideologies and beliefs. It gives a fair picture and an equal voice to both sides. While the film does evoke anger, the idea is to stir up compassion and empathy. And Khan does so with sophistication and ease.
John Wilmor’s cinematography adds weight to the narrative; capturing the turbulence as deftly as the tranquil, constantly reminding us through his lens what Kashmir once stood for.
By Mansi Dutta