‘Hamid’ review: Humanity over politics

At times films gain in heft because of the time and context in which they get seen. I may have otherwise been critical of Aijaz Khan’s simplistic and too even-handed and deliberately balanced take on the Kashmir situation in Hamid. But given the recent turn of events it’s the very simplicity, humaneness and a sense of poise that resonates, connects and is profoundly moving.

Eight year-old Hamid’s (Talha Arshad Reshi) father is a boatmaker who never returns home one day, like many men in Kashmir haven’t in tumultuous times. While his mother Ishrat (Rasika Dugal) has her own battles to fight and neglects him, Hamid is told that his father has gone to Allah. On learning that God’s number is 786, he tries to call him on the phone, but in vain. Then one fine day he does manage to get connected and unknown to him it’s a CRPF jawan Abhay (Vikas Kumar) who answers his call.

  • Director: Aijaz Khan
  • Cast: Rasika Dugal, Vikas Kumar, Talha Arshad Reshi
  • Storyline: Eight year-old Hamid is told that his father has gone to Allah and dials God’s number—786—to speak to him
  • Run time: 120 minutes

The ingenious premise of the film, based on Mohammed Amin Bhat’s play, is reminiscent of the children’s films from Iran. The fablesque touch combined with the authenticity of locale, lingo, characters only make the resemblance much stronger as does the ability to capture quotidian moments, like Hamid asking for ₹9 from a beggar to recharge his mobile.

Also, like the Iranian films, overt politics is shunned to focus on the human repercussions of a tinderbox of a political situation. Whether it’s a child missing his father or a jawan weighed down by unexpressed guilt and the frustration of not being able to visit home and family, both are victims of political machinations. Seemingly on the opposite sides of the divide, seething with rage, lobbing stones and bullets at each other, they are, in fact, they are ultimately more friends than foes. Both are equally wronged.

The lead players—Reshi, Kumar and Dugal—are all in fine form. Dugal is especially luminous in being able to articulate a lot by saying nothing. The only bit that rankles is the one about Hamid’s indoctrination; it is dealt with in a very ham-fisted way. At one level the film is not about hope but a burial of it. Yet, simultaneously, there is a stoic sense of continuity in resignation. Maybe it’s towards better days ahead. “Bachchon ke usoolon pe duniya chalti to jannat ban gayi hoti (The world would have become heaven were it run on children’s principles),” goes a line in the film. Indeed!

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 9:19:53 AM |

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