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Sikandar - Movie Review

A small film with a heart
By Aparajita Ghosh
Fri, Aug 21, 2009 17:29:48 GMT
 

There is a subtle irony about Kashmir. Its scenic landscape, once dubbed, and still is, as the ‘paradise on earth’, is blotted with the blood of innocent people, of jihadis, and jawans alike. This irony is further compounded in Sikandar through the story of a 14-year-old boy who dreams of becoming a football champ but is pulled into a whirlpool of unending troubles after he finds a stray gun.

Writer-director Piyush Jha doesn’t take the course expected from a routine film set in Kashmir. The focus remains on the teenaged protagonists of the story and how their innocence is lost in the power tussle between the war mongering jihadis and politicos, with the army forming the third front. The point the director makes is that in an atmosphere that breeds hate and violence, a young and impressionable mind tends to find solution to its problems through a gun.

Sikandar (Parzun Dastur) is a Kashmiri orphan whose parents were killed by militants. He loves to play football and chat with his good friend, the 14-yr-old Nasreen (Ayesha Kapur) who is mature for anyone her age. Often bullied by his school friends, Sikandar feels he has found a way out of his troubles when he chances upon a gun by the side of a road. Despite Nasreen advising him to the contrary, he decides to keep the gun.

The young boy with the gun becomes an easy prey for militant leader Zahgeer Qadir (Arunoday Singh), who wants to bump off a reformed jihadi Mukhtaar Mattoo (Sanjay Suri) who’s taken the road to peace. There’s also a Lt. Colonel (R Madhavan), a tough taskmaster who believes in giving tit for tat, and taking eye for an eye. But there’s also another side to this army man.

An unexpected twist in the tale puts the gun-toting Sikandar in deep mess and the movie becomes more of a suspense thriller that also attempts to make a jarring statement on the nasty cobweb of jihadis, politicos and religious leaders in the violence-hit valley.

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