Harud (2010) – Sometimes A Photo is All You Have

After seeing Kashmir in so many Indian films like Mission Kashmir, Fitoor, Haider and countless others, this comes as a breath of fresh air. A movie made by the Kashmiris themselves in the Kashmiri language (though the version I saw on Netflix was Urdu-dubbed) and from the view of Kashmiri’s who are still living under military law. The name of the movie Harud, is Kashmiri for Autumn.

WARNING THERE ARE SOME BRIEF GRAFIC IMAGES IN THIS FILM OF A LAMB BEING SLAUGHTERED! NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED!

Summary:

Set in Kashmir three men cross the border from Pakistan occupied territory to the Indian side to become part of the insurgence militants, but fail. Rafiq is left at home, wondering where his brother has gone since he “disappeared” like all the other men, both young and old. Until he finds his brother’s camera.

This is a small and short movie, but by no means boring. It hangs on the everyday moments, like Rafiq’s mother doing her morning prayers and the depressing tension of living in such a beautiful place like Kashmir, but where frisking are the norm and tension is in the air. It’s a normalcy no one shouldn’t live, yet there is hope in the moments where a football is played and there is the hope of having the World Cup being in Kashmir, as a distant dream. Director Aamir Bashir brings a picture of a land where death is present always, like a shadow, like a gun, and where everyday is surviving one way or another.

Shahnwaz Bhat plays Rafiq, a man lost for a purpose until he finds the camera his brother left behind. He doesn’t speak much, but the silence itself is telling — it is the silence of tension, of bottled up emotions like anger, frustration, sadness and in a world where smiling has ceased his is one of many.

Mohammad Amir Naji plays Yusuf, Rafiq’s father, who directs traffic in the city. His large eyes and emotional scene as he recounts how he sees a grenade at the hands of a young man breaks your heart.

So, if you are in the mood for something special, but a little dark, this is a good film to watch. I just hope it’ll be easy to find either as a DVD or VOD. It keeps you watching with its silence, the dread and fear that slowly treads on the lives of the Kashmiri’s as everyone tries to have some kind of a ‘normal’ in this silent chaos. And seeing it is done by the Kashmiri’s themselves the movie is most likely the most authentic lens of which you will see the situation from.

Thank you for reading!

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