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The yahaan Movie Review

Love Amidst Terror
By Nitika Desai
Rating: 0.5/5

A love story of an idealistic Indian army captain and a local Kashmiri girl unspools against the backdrop of the militancy-ridden valley. How the lovers face opposition from the local community and from the militants, and how the captain's idealism is shattered, his commitment to duty questioned, is what Yahaan is about.

For a man who is making his first feature film, Yahaan is a promising start. Shoojit Sircar, the famous ad filmmaker, has without doubt chosen an interesting subject for his debut feature. Love stories set in Kashmir valley are rare to see in Bollywood.

And in telling this story Sircar treads the middle path - neither he toes the commercial line, nor does he make his movie look like an art flick, something with a strong element of realism.

Yahaan lies somewhere in between. The hand-held camera and its ensuing effect on the large screen lends the movie a documentary touch - something like a journalistic account - while the songs and colorful dresses, not to mention the pacy sequences in the second half, provide the dreamy, fictitious element. Yahaan tries to bring together these two polarities, albeit with partial success.

Story:

Aman (Jimmy Shergill) is an idealistic army captain posted in Kashmir. During one of his patrols in the backwaters of one of Kashmir's lakes, he comes across Adaa (Minissha Lamba), a beautiful local girl.

Emotions are stirred at the very first sight only, but not a word spoken. Destiny brings them together again and in no time love sprouts and blossoms.

But this is the love that no one in the valley would accept. By an unwritten diktat, the girls in the valley are debarred from have any relationship with 'outsiders', particularly if they happen to be army guys.

But Adaa and Aman defy this diktat and face disapproval from Adaa's family and from local community, apart from threats from militants.

What follows tests their love. It tests Aman's idealism and Adaa's belief in the good. There is an attack on the family, a court martial, a militant deep-rooted in his fundamentalist ideas, a peace-loving freedom fighter, a near-death experience, a hostage situation and the nation challenged.

Yahaan serves more purpose than just telling a love story. It tries to paint, although vaguely, the situation in Kashmir, from the perspective of two lovers whose only sin was to love. At the same time, it tries to stay unbiased in its approach to the subject.

The movie introduces Minissha Lamba as the Kashmiri girl Adaa. Considering it is her debut, Minissha has delivered a good enough performance, although there are some sequences where her discomfort shows.

Jimmy Shergill is the revelation of this movie. It wouldn't be wrong to say that the actor has delivered the best performance of his career till date. The hesitations that he brings out in his character Aman during first encounters with Adaa, his subsequent transformation into a man of decision and righteousness to a man whose firm convictions are put to test - all this Jimmy conveys with utmost conviction. A praiseworthy performance without doubt.

Yashpal Sharma is commendable playing the terrorist. Mukesh Tiwari and Dolly Ahluwalia are adequate in the marginal roles.

It would be an overstatement to say that Yahaan is an exceptional movie. The film does have its flaws. The story moves at uneven paces and the music and songs, although appropriate to the situations, are plain and leave little impact.

Still, it is worth one's while to watch this movie once. The romance between Aman and Adaa is touching, attempts to muffle this love are saddening and the fundamentalist elements are shocking and raise many questions in a viewer's mind.

Worth a Watch

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Movie Review : Love Amidst Terror (0.5/5)
A love story of an idealistic Indian army captain and a local Kashmiri girl unspools against the backdrop of the militancy-ridden valley. How the lovers face opposition from the local community and from the militants, and how the captain's idealism is shattered, his commitment to duty questioned, is...
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