Today, I watched the Indian movie “Hamid“, which shows how Kashmiris are suffering due to the conflicts involving the Indian Army. This movie was directed by Aijaz Khan and written by Ravinder Randhawa.
In this movie, the father of a seven year old Kashmiri boy Hamid vanishes. He had taught Hamid a little bit about God; and, he had taught him that when we put the words “Bismillah hir rahman nir raheem” (In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful) together, we get the numbers 786.
After his dad’s sudden disappearance, Hamid starts looking for him by attempting to connect with Allah (God). Thus, he asks the shopkeeper who had put money in his cell to dial number 786; but, the shopkeeper tells him that he must dial a 10-digit number. So Hamid finds a poster that has a 10-digit number printed on it. Then, he scribbles the number 9-786-786-786 on the paper. When he dials this number, he is connected to an Indian Army official named Abhay. Hamid never finds out that Abhay is actually participating in stopping the protests that are taking place in Kashmir. This man makes friends with Hamid and let’s Hamid think that he is talking to Allah (God). It is obvious to me that he does not want to tell him the truth because he has figured out that this call is an act of desperation. This is how Hamid learns to let out his true feelings about his ordeals; and, Abhay decides to listen and assist him. Over time, we see that Abhay actually tries to investigate where Hamid’s dad had went; pressures someone to issue wages to Hamid’s mother; consoles Hamid by singing the only song he really knows, which is the song that’s usually sung by Indian army units; and, also guides Hamid to run away from a site where the Indian army was arriving to manage a protest. Abhay takes the role of his father because he yearns to see his daughter one day as his existence is consumed by the need to play this role.
Unfortunately, Hamid feels too upset when he finally founds out that he has been talking to an Indian Army official. So he breaks his dad’s cellphone, which is the only mobile device he can use to reach out to outsiders—I felt a bit worried when I saw him do this because I realized that he was going to be all alone again since his mother is not reacting to his needs owing to this recent tragedy. Furthermore, I felt relieved when I saw the last scene. Abhay sends a gift—red paint—to Hamid’s uncle’s shop where Hamid is learning how to make boats. You see Abhay had found out that Hamid’s dad used to paint the boats he had made with red paint; thus, even if Hamid is angry at Abhay for not telling him that he is not Allah (God), kind Abhay still chooses to play the father figure for him.
A startling revelation offered by this movie is as follows: Hamid’s father had always taught him never to be involved in any kind of politics—just like me, he liked expressing his feelings through poetry. Hamid throws the very first stone at an Indian Army vehicle after he finds out that the “entity” he was communicating with is not Allah (God) but an Indian soldier. I felt a bit shaken when I saw him do this because I realized how much pain he must have endured before he decided to do what his father told him not to do. He was lucky to escape alive after this; but, in real life, protestors can get shot for doing this. To get an idea about what I am trying to tell you here, check out CJ Werleman’s Facebook post, “In the 1990s, whenever Kashmiri protestors threw stones, Indian security forces would pretty much shoot anything that moved, blaming “cross fire” incidences“.
In conclusion, I like how the Indian cinema is taking a stand to cover the issues faced by Kashmiris. The description of the following video trailer shares the facts that this movie has won two awards at the 5th edition of the Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF).
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