Star Cast: Amba-Suhasini Katoch Jhala, Anand Kumar, Farooq Bilal Fazli, Gandharva Dewan, Hiba Kumar, Inder Salim and Lokesh Jain.
Director: Prabhas Chandra
What’s better: It’s almost a cry for help and someone holding up a mirror against the atrocities we turn a blind eye to. This is our heaven and the lives of the people living there are no less than hell now.
What’s worse: In terms of decoding the movie, the makers have expected a lot from the audience. A person who is not good geopolitically can lose track and not understand anything. Because all these are close to each other.
Lou Break: This is a 90 minute inconvenience, not visually but the thought of it is terrifying. If you are at my emotional level you need at least 1 break to process the darkness, no matter where you spend it.
See it or not?: you should. Because it is a fact without any ‘file’ attached. You are otherwise smart.
Language: Hindi (with subtitles).
Available at: Now on the festival circuit!
runtime: 96 minutes.
Prabhas Chandra, in his meta-documentary-fiction genre film, takes you through the streets of Kashmir haunted by the deep atrocities the land has faced. Afifa is living a suffocating life in the midst of all this.
I Am Not River Jhelum Movie Review: Script Analysis
Gar Firdaus Bar-Rue Zamin Ast, Hami Asto, Hamin Asto, Hamin Ast, are words that describe the beauty of the land labeled Heaven, and rightly so. But is it still true, or has our greed and conflict killed it all? Kashmir, a land hanging on the precipice of uncertainty and destruction, there is almost no hope, but still enough to keep the grind going. Prabhas Chandra, in his feature film, has tried to capture the lifeless emptiness on the streets and the chaotic hope inside the houses, and this is the focus the land needs right now.
In the past few years, cinema has been used as a tool not only to influence people but also to spoon-feed the audience what they should do or think about. Of course, the latter example is a film based on the same land, but naming it and promoting it will only weaken the impact of the amazing film we’re talking about now. So, when a filmmaker sets out with his camera to show the world what his paradise looks like and how lifeless everything is, you need to surrender and listen.
Prabhas Chandra, who wrote I am not the river Jhelum, aims to show his poetic vision of life and of course the signs of living through the eyes of people who are suffering from lack of happiness or suffering. It’s not even a whole episode in the lives of the people involved on screen, but Chandra shows you just a little bit of why to make you realize how painful and difficult it is to spend even a moment there.
Children are kept out of school, their fathers are constantly on the radar to either be taken or killed, and no one knows where the next bomb will fall. It is also a dystopian world where one can only think about death while being alive. When the army is literally at the door, a father teaches his young daughter about Newton’s laws, galaxies and black holes. It is a place where all the youth know is that they are doomed, that the outside world is just for survival and nothing else.
Chandra knows what he is trying to do. After the abrogation of Article 370, Kashmir has been deprived of basic amenities, but its name is mentioned at least once in every Rajya Sabha hearing. Students protest in the capital, but attention has shifted elsewhere. The movie is a bold alarm that the world is watching. It takes courage to talk about grief without resorting to ‘story’, the moon certainly has.
This is not the Kashmir of your films where only love blossoms, this is one where love is dying and we need to restore it.
I’m Not River Jhelum Movie Review: Star Performance
The acting performances are, for lack of a better word, terrible. Through his characters, Prabhas creates an emotional trauma in them. Afifa’s uncle is taken away and in a voice-over narration at one stage, we understand the torture he went through. Similarly, Gandharva Dewan plays a police officer struggling with terminal PTSD which has turned him into a mentally challenged person. His habits and actions are enough to tell the trauma he suffered. In a terrifying scene, he strips himself naked and simulates torture. Can’t even imagine.
I am not a river Jhelum Movie Review: Direction, Music
As a director, Prabhas Chandra combines chaos, poetry, meditation, violence, fear and curses to tell his story. He never actually writes or directs a scene that leads to the next part of the story, instead he just lets it all go wild and untamed. Because that’s how the world works there. Along with his DOPs Anuj Chopra and Pratik D Bhallawala, he walks through the lanes with handheld cameras and indoors with enough light to let you see zero.
Together they create scenes that are both stunning and haunting. As a filmmaking technique, Chandra introduces actors performing monologues with voiceovers just like on stage and it works effectively. There are also poems by various artists, one of whom is Inder Salim, who also acts in movies and is also a dialogue consultant.
Much of I am not a river Jhelum rests in the hands of editor Paresh Kamdar who has the daunting task of streamlining this chaos. As said, there is no structure to telling the story because the moon goes meta about 60 percent of the time. For the most part there is no dialogue or an ongoing fantasy story. Imagine, weaving a documentary with a fictional story and then combining them, the worker has hard shoes to fill and does a very good job.
There are metaphors and things you have to decode yourself. They are restless and highly dynamic. But there is also a point where the viewer is not used to them or the geopolitical conflict in Kashmir may feel completely foreign.
I Am Not River Jhelum Movie Review: The Last Word
It’s not history, it’s the real present that needs to be sorted out first. The intention is not to make you shout and fight, but to put forward a solid point and not need a whole propaganda machinery to prove it.
I am the Jhelum River not the trailer
I am not the river Jhelum Released on October 30, 2022.
Watch and share your experience with us I am not the river Jhelum.
For more recommendations, read our Goodbye movie review here.
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