The Kashmir Files (2022)

A recap of our shocking history filled with many heartbreaking details which are based on true events, the film isn’t easy to watch. Not only because of the atrocities, but because of the inaction of the government in power then and the way this episode has been forgotten entirely.

The film sets a mood from the very beginning, building on it without relying on music or histrionics. We see different sides to the story, the role of different elements, some told in passing, others in more detail.

Watch it to revise the history of the land, those that led to its prosperity and those that ultimately ruined it. Great performances by the cast and crew and bravo to Vivek Agnihotri for his astute direction.

History can be forgotten but not denied.

4/5

Mary Kom (2014)

Attempting a biopic for ‘Magnificent Mary’ was a bold move. It is about a girl from Manipur who became a boxing legend against all odds and made the country proud. Not only following her professional career, the director, Omung Kumar, has given us equal insights into her personal life. He makes a thumping debut after being art director for projects such as ‘Black’, ‘Saawariya’ and many others.  

Her struggles seemed difficult as a single person, as wife and mother, they increased ten-fold. But our Mary Kom is a fighter and we have only one talent who could portray her. Priyanka Chopra. From the first scene, to the last fight, she embodies the spirit of Mary Kom and all Indian women who fight to pursue their passion, raise families as well as be dutiful daughters. A constant battle inside the ring and outside as well! The result? Two hours of pow wow that will knock your socks off!

Priyanka is not the big star, but the ‘angry young girl’ with an endearing accent and speech, who stumbles upon ‘Coach Sir’ who reluctantly trains her. Noted Nepali actor Sunil Thapa plays the stern coach who whips her into controlled action. Onler Kom is her supporter, admirer and eventually her husband. The role is confidently played by debut actor Darshan Kumar, who was every bit the ‘man behind the successful woman’. The old adage goes to show that either gender needs the unending support of their spouse to succeed.

Of course such a story needs an ensemble cast to succeed. Her parents, siblings, peers, friends and town folk create a space where we root for every fight and share her every struggle. They walk the tight rope when they show her relationship with her father. Never becoming melodramatic, they show her angst and frustration beautifully.

Parallels will be drawn to ‘Chak de’ and ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, but besides getting a new ‘sports theme song’ we see some excellent shots in the ring and very crisp editing by Rajesh G. Pandey and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who is also the creative director. If you thought he always needed larger than life sets and costumes to show his story, here you will see his trademark style in the most humble backdrop.

Story / Screenplay writer Saiwyn Quadras creates a ‘square world’ where he doesn’t leave room for any competition for his team. Witty one-liners and serious dialogue by Karan Singh Rathore and Ramendra Vasishth give a balance to the tense audience. Team Mary Kom, this year will get you all the accolades, awards and maybe even medals. Priyanka will kick ass!

The content will punch you. It grips the breath, hearts and minds of the audience! Bravo!

4/5