Being a native of Kashmir, first-time director Aamir Bashir narrates the plight of Kashmiri Pundits in HARUD, a film that has been showcased in Film Festivals abroad and has now found an opening for the Indian Audience through PVR's Director's Rare category.
As a subject, it is evident that this is something close to Bashir's heart. The narrative is somber, sometimes deadly still. It's very artistic which does not give any of his characters the fluidity to emote. It is like as though the concept is locked in the director's mind and he is not able to express it to his actors who are a fine lot.
Creativity cannot transcend its brilliance when the maker is not able to part with the subject whole-heartedly; when he holds back a bit of it without setting it out to arrest the viewer. An idea which explodes in your mind which you are then able to let the viewer revel in through a smart presentation is what gives its creator a sense of bliss. Here the narrative is confined within the director's mind most of the time. He expects his audience to understand what is going on in his mind and here is where he fails to make maximum impact of a fine subject. Most of the Kashmiri Pundits today have left for greener pastures with the onset of violence in the region, almost all with a huge emotional burden of having lost a dear one.
HARUD is the story of Rafiq (Shahnawaz Bhat) who tries to infiltrate into Pakistan to join a militant outfit after the disappearance of his brother. Taquir, a tourist photographer, is one of the thousands of young men who have disappeared after the onset of militant insurgency in the valley. Failing in his attempt, he returns to his home to an aimless life. One day Rafiq finds his brother's old camera. With a few photographs, one of Shaheen (Salma Ashai), one thinks director Bashir will throw new life into the narrative. Unfortunately, nothing dramatic unfolds.
I get a feeling that Bashir has his notes in front of him but is not able to speak. Sometimes he throws in too many elements and aimlessly wanders from what was actually meant to be, just like his character Rafiq.
Just for the story (concept) alone, setting and some moments of interesting interplay, a 2.5 rating for HARUD.