Vidhu Vinod Chopra returns as director, this time to tell his own story. Like him, thousands of Kashmiri Pandits were overnight rendered homeless when on 19 January 1990, sectarian violence erupted in the Kashmir valley, reducing Hindus in Kashmir to the status of refugees in their homeland.
Shikara is the story of one Kashmiri Pandit couple, played by raw somewhat unpolished newcomers Sadia and Adil Khan fighting hatred with love as the Valley burns. It’s a beautiful thought that Gabriel Garcia Marquez could have approved of. Except for the fact that Shikara is far more modest in its ambitions than the epic literature of Marquez or even the vision that went into Vidhu Chopra’s Mission Kashmir.
But it’s not the epic vision, but the emotional core of a political disaster that interests Chopra this time. Neither the actors nor the technicians on board seem to be here to create history. This is a film that seems to chronicle the truth about a truly tragic chapter of Kashmir’s history when a large section of the local population had to leave their homes and property and flee the once-paradisaical State.
Shikara seems to capture the sheer pathos of a couple who is homeless in its own home. The young couple does not exude an extraordinary charm and charisma. They look like an ordinary couple caught in an extraordinary situation. This is perhaps intentional. Who would believe Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt as refugees in their own country?
Like the release date, 7 February approaches Shikara will generate increasing debate on how emotionally physically and financially wounded were the displaced Kashmiri Pandit. Vinod Chopra has his own stories to tell about being a refugee. Here is one of them. It doesn’t convey the epic vision of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider. But the trailer of Shikara moves you.