Shikara

wogma rating: Watch when on TV/online (?)

quick review:

An ineffective summary of the tragedies that people might have suffered in real life. And yet makes you wonder, if this is a summary, how horrifying might the details have been.

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Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Cast: Aadil Khan, Sadia
Running time: 120 minutes
Genres: Politics, Romance, Social
More Movie Info

Shikara - Preview

You are asked to leave your homeland. The government is apathetic, or worse complicit. It just feels wrong to call it a story or see it as a film. Of course, this is true of any movie based on a tragic real-life event. Shikara’s trailer gives a well-made film feel. Of course, the political connotations are unmissable. But, hopefully, what we see will be one truthful slice of the whole.

Shikara releases on 7 February 2020.

- meeta, a part of the audience

At the risk of sounding like I wanted to see more torture and injustice on screen, I have to say that Shikara seemed timid. Like it is trying hard to keep us from seeing too much of reality. Which is why the film feels like a feeble snapshot of what the Kashmiri Pandits, who have been refugees in their own country, are really going/went through for three decades.

not telling us anything new

Of course, the film is over-simplified. But, the issue is so complex and carries so much baggage that the over-simplification might have been intentional. The point, after all, is that simple—they were forced to flee their home town, and they made/are making the best of the situation.

Similarly, the lack of context might be deliberate too. It is quite well-known that the riots that drove them out of Kashmir weren’t the impact of a stand-alone event. It is also true, that in this case, holding the event within its context isn’t going to solve any problems. It only leads to more finger-pointing and justification for more such alienations.

After giving the film all these benefits of doubt, the film can be watched to remind ourselves of what we know. The only problem is we almost surely know more. In that sense, Shikara is not telling us anything new.

You could then admire Kashmir for its beauty and the lead male actor, Aadil Khan, for his performance. Sadia’s act, on the other hand, feels slightly forced. Other than that, though, for an insight into the whys and hows of the exodus, there must be documentaries we could watch. An ineffective summary of the tragedies that people might have suffered in real life. And yet makes you wonder, if this is a summary, how horrifying might the details have been.

- meeta, a part of the audience

26 reviewers(?) - 9 yays 16 so-so 1 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Shubha Shetty Saha, Free Press Journal : ...So much so, that the beautiful background often becomes the main attraction and difficult to peal your eyes away from. Aadil Khan, even though his debut film, impresses with his mature performance as he goes through the trauma of losing his loved ones in the most unexpected circumstances. Sadia is pleasant to look at and gives good support.... full review

Thumbs up, by Neema Pramod, fullhyd.com : ...Visually, too, the film is a delight, with almost every frame feeling like a poem. Rangarajan Ramabadran's cinematography manages to capture Kashmir in all its glory. The songs are passable, but A R Rahman's score manages to inject melancholy into the scenes.... full review

Thumbs up, by Jyoti Kanyal, india today : ...AR Rahman's music does magic to the film. With Sandesh Shandilya, the music maestro presents you the scenic beauty of Kashmir in his music. Irshad Kamil's lyrics provide the right support.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonal Gera, India TV : ...Watch 'Shikara' for the scenic beauty of Kashmir, Aadil and Sadia's earnest portrayal of Shiv and Shanti, respectively, Vidhu Vinod Chopra's sensitive depiction of a part of his own life, and an important History lesson. The political nuances can take care of themselves.... full review

Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...But his finest film, in my books, still remains the one that he also shot in Kashmir—the stellar murder mystery Khamosh (1985). This is his return to direction after half a decade since the muddled Broken Horses, that appeared marred by global over-ambition. It's been well worth the wait. Shorn of frills, the minimalist Shikara is, without doubt, his most personal, earnest piece yet.... full review

Thumbs up, by Giridhar Jha, Outlook India : ...Chopra, to his credit, has risen to the occasion pulling out all the stops to make it a memorable movie. Even though Shikara opens with a disclaimer that is a fictional story,... full review

Thumbs up, by Nikita Roy, Pinkvilla : ...Coming to direction, Vidhu impresses with his inimitable style. Also, the music, dialogues, and cinematography are deftly done. Talking about the setbacks, the only time the movie faltered was with the editing the second half of the movie. All in all, this a beautiful love story's translation to the screen is almost flawless and I think it deserves a watch.... full review

Thumbs up, by ANISH MOHANTY, Planet Bollywood : ...Vidhu Vinod Chopra, despite lack of commercial success as a director, is regarded as one of the finest filmmakers in the country and rightfully so. He had an eye for detailing which was evident right from the days he started out with films like ‘Sazaye Maut’ and ‘Khamosh’. After all these year, one is happy to confirm that his artistic sensibilities are firmly in place, and with ‘Shikara: The Untold Story Of Kashmiri Pandits’, one hopes that he gets a bonafide success to his credit as a director too.... full review

Thumbs up, by Utkarsh Mishra, Rediff : ...I conclude with addressing the questions that have been raised over the 'timing' of the movie. When Kashmir is under longest-ever lockdown, will this story not serve as a justification for what is being done there?... full review

So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...Summing up, SHIKARA is a film which would turn out be good or bad as per your own thought process and vision while watching it. For me it is just a soft and simple love story told subtly with some soothing music and appreciable honest performances. At the same time, it is certainly not ‘The Untold Story of Kashmiri Pandits’ touching an open wound and surely ‘Not Any Masterpiece’ contrary to what was said by James Cameron quoted in the film's publicity campaign.... full review

So-So, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Try as I might I couldn’t bring myself to feel that intense empathy for the protagonist that director Vinod Chopra wants us to. James Cameron apparently thinks Shikara is a masterpiece. Sorry, Mr. Cameron, I can’t agree with you.... full review

So-So, by Russel D'silva, Bollywood Life : ...Shikara is a huge missed opportunity for a subject that screamed for a better film. The Kashmiri Pandits certainly deserved better both on and off screen. I'm going with 2.5 out of 5 stars.... full review

So-So, by SUPARNA SHARMA, Deccan Chronicle : ...Shikara’s casting, by Indu Sharma, is inspired. Apart from people from the Jagti refugee camp, many of whom have a blank, forlorn wait in their eyes, it’s Kashmir-born Aadil Khan and Sadia as the leads who really bring a breeze of the Valley to Shikara.... full review

So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...Kudos to cinematographer Rangarajan Ramabadran for capturing the picture-postcard beauty of Kashmir. Songs, composed by Sandesh Shandilya and Abhay Sopori and written by Irshad Kamil are evocative and tell a story and aren’t just fillings... full review

So-So, by Madhuri V, Filmi Beat : ...'Ae Wadi Shehzadi', 'Ghar Bhara Sa Lage' and 'Mar Jaayein Hum' touch your hearts with the beautiful lyrics and soul-stirring music. A. R Rahman and Qutub-E-Kripa's music score adds layers to the narrative.... full review

So-So, by Devansh Sharma, FirstPost : ...The director also elicits remarkable performances from the lead actors. Newcomers Sadia and Aadil are Kashmir-born Muslims, and hence, fit well in the familiar environment. They also have commendable chemistry, and display enough heft to carry the film on their shoulders, despite being new to the business.... full review

So-So, by Vishal Verma, Glamsham.com : ...The prolific Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s return after around five years (the forgettable misadventure (BROKEN HORSES - 2015) with SHIKARA is a beautifully shot and poignant love story with fine performances that could have been a compelling masterpiece but it unfortunately gives in to the conventional love story. Still going with a generous 3 stars – half extra for the love for Kashmir and with the hope that with the present situation where it’s now a Union Territory, Kashmiri Pandits will one day finally say Namashkar Mara to their neighbors from their home.... full review

So-So, by Monika Rawal Kukreja, Hindustan Times : ...The background score by A R Rahman and Qutub-E-Kripa adds soul to the film and is ably supported by Irshad Kamil’s lyrics. The songs stay with you for a long time. Shikara touches your heart while making you smile and cry at the same time. Chopra does justice to his direction though a much hard-hitting narrative is what one continues to wait for.... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...You see this part and you are moved, and then you are back into questioning mode: why this narrow-casting of such a thin slice? A more nuanced sense of history would have made this film much more complete, even if you were to put aside the enormous irony of watching a film about a place which has been in lockdown for the past six months: when will the people in the valley be able to watch Shikara, and tell us what they think?... full review

So-So, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, Live Mint : ...Shanti plays the perfect and dutiful wife who either smiles beatifically or cries. During the highs and the lows Sadia’s response is the same – to clutch onto Aadil Khan’s hands, cup his face lovingly or hug him. She captures vulnerability and optimism but the reactions are repetitive and unimaginative. Khan is impressive, especially when conveying anguish and heartbreak.... full review

So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...Scraping an uncomfortable past may reinforce the negative feelings that may have healed with time. And while thepurpose of a film is essentially to entertain, this one could potentially influence and shape one’s opinion about the fate of those in the Valley.... full review

So-So, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Shot wonderfully well by Rangarajan Ramabadran, who crafts frames that are unfailingly evocative of both mood and place, Shikara oscillates between aching beauty and deep darkness as a tender, old world love story plays out in a fractured world.... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...The history lesson is ultimately weak, but the romance is always strong. Admirably shot by Rangarajan Ramabran and tightly edited by Chopra, Shikara resists the seduction of a grand-sweep narrative for an intimately observed story of a tragedy that is leavened by love.... full review

So-So, by Kennith Rosario, The Hindu : ...A filmmaker is entitled to his perspective. And in doing so, by focusing on the loss and almost three-decade-long unfulfilled desire for one’s homeland, Chopra aims for emotions rather than politics.... full review

So-So, by Pallabi Dey Purkayastha, Times of India : ...To sum it up, Vindhu Vinod Chopra’s ‘Shikara’ will cater to the cinematic sensibilities of a certain section of the audience. As a love story, it works at some level, but in the bigger picture, this old-school romance doesn't really grip you and keep you engaged for too long.... full review

Thumbs down, by Ankur Pathak, Huffington Post : ...Despite the tightrope it walks on and occasionally slips off, Shikara is conscious about present-day politics. A chant of ‘mandir wahin banayenge’ is quickly dispelled by the lead, who says, “Leader ka kaam todna nahi, jodna hota hai.” The film’s broader idea, of love being the only option in a time corrupted with hate and toxicity, resonates. Now, if only that was enough.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

2 readers - 0 yays 1 so-so 1 nays

Want to Watch, by Gazab Lyrics : planning to watch this movie

So-So, by Mohit Kumar

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Vivek Bharti : Demoralizing

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Houses set on fire, people shooting each other, a tortured terrorist
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A reference to love-making
  • Concept: The story of a Kashmiri pandit family which was forced to leave Kashmir.
  • General Look and Feel: Soft and soothing despite the harshness of the situation.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

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Shikara - Cast, crew, links

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Running time:
120 minutes
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Comments (1)

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Vivek Bharti

I hope next time vvc will produce similar soothing movie ( Hollywood better) on Nazi/Jews.

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