Movie Rated

Production House: Alchemy Films Pvt. Ltd. Cast: Dia Mirza, Mohit Raina, Abhiroy Singh Dialogues: Vicky Chandra Music: Raju Singh, Ravi Singhal Cinematography: Pratik Shah Editing: Yashashwini Y.P Producers: Siddharth P. Malhotra, Sapna Malhotra Story: Bhavani Iyer Direction: Sonam Nair Premier date: June 15, 2019 Story: Vedant Rathod is an advocate-turned-journalist who heads a media channel at his hometown Kashmir. Known for his pathbreaking journalism, Vedant accidentally meets a young school-going girl Seher in pursuit of a human-interest story. He realises she's a daughter of Kainaz Akhtar, a Pakistani native, who's spent more than seven years in jail, having been branded as a militant by the local cops. Vedant senses some honesty in Kainaz's version of her story and volunteers to do his best to ensure Kainaz's safe return to Pakistan. So much that he gives up his comfy media job, turning a lawyer all over again and fighting all odds to ensure justice for Kainaz and her daughter. Is there a personal motive behind Vedant's decision to do so? Watch Kaafir to know more. Artistes’ Performances: Kaafir, in many ways, serves as a near-perfect showcase for the solid actor in Dia Mirza. In the shoes of a mother to a six-year-old and a prisoner charged for alleged militancy, the actor is in such good sync with the emotional state of her role. She essays a part where she conceals more than what she expresses and it's all credit to Dia's extremely affecting performance that we believe in the humanistic ideals that the series mildly preaches about. There's pain, gloominess and the longing for companionship in her eyes and it's the actor's sincerity that strikes a chord; she makes us realise the innocence and the inherent purity in Kainaz despite all efforts to crush her spirit. Mohit Raina is another wonderful talent that the series makes good use of. He shows the right urgency and the activism required to play a journalist and is equally efficient in providing the cinematic dimension to Kaafir, especially in the engaging court-room drama sequences as an advocate. Though there's something brewing between him and Kainaz, and also as he deals with the cold equation with his father, he never overplays his expressions and remains his composed self. Several supporting actors rise up to the occasion in the need of the hour, like Faezeh Jalali as Dia Mirza's jailmate, the incredibly spontaneous child actor Dishita Jain as the six-year-old daughter, Dara Sandhu in the role of Rafique, the protagonist's journo colleague. Technical Merit - Direction: Sonam Nair brings in a metaphoric and poetic quality to whatever she wants to say. The series has the right mix of tenderness and the firmness to talk about how humanly barriers are of little significance to show some empathy for fellow-beings. The espionage drama is wonderfully layered, weaving in issues like religious extremism, hyper-nationalism, and jingoism. The director makes sure that every character has his/her own voice and their perspectives are heard in the time of need. Kaafir slows down once Kainaz's daughter is denied entry at the LoC and the proceedings aren't as organic henceforth. The relationship between Kainaz and Vedant drives the series forward, the director doesn't romanticize this at any point and the lines 'we're fighting together for freedom, only to get separated' at the ending couldn't have been written any better. A preachy quality creeps into the series in its latter half, where too much is said aloud about the call for humanity. Besides this occasional slip and the theme's similarities with the likes of Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Raazi, the director does a credible job in keeping the proceedings real. Dialogues: Vicky Chandra is the unsung hero of the series for the simplicity that he maintains in his lines. His writing is mostly conversational and bears the old-world charm that blends well with the theme of the series. The tone of the dialogues for the handful of characters remain consistent and doesn't go overboard with its verbosity. His work shows great maturity in the climax with his effort to look at the metaphoric side of two people getting close to each other and yet being separated by their countries. Cinematography: The series has been significantly shot in Himachal Pradesh that's passed off as Kashmir but that's not to undermine the efforts of the cinematographer Pratik Shah. The man shows his worth as he takes us past the scenic landscapes of the State and paints a haunting portrait of the characters and the various locations they're a part of. He experiments with the use of natural light, colours, and shadows, while still staying true to the intentions of the story. Music: Swanand Kirkire's rendition of the title track for Kaafir is a welcome add-on. The same however can't be told about Raju Singh, credited for the series' original score. The composer plays it too safe and doesn't quite rise above the ordinary. His score scales somewhere between screechy and over-the-top in intense situations. The climax provides great potential for a rousing musical portion but Raju just isn't the man to substantiate the sequence. Editing: As a multi-layered non-linear screenplay, Kaafir works like a dream and the flow is never an issue for the spectator at any point. Despite many subplots and characters, the director and the editor prove to be an efficient combo in keeping the tempo and momentum of the series in check. Production standards: If not for the VFX portions in the climax, Kaafir's scale is rich and most importantly, adequate for the story it wants to convey. The uncompromising team has placed enough emphasis on the technicality of its product; all along we get a holistic series where the little details help put together the larger picture smartly. Highlights: Dia Mirza, Mohit Raina's performances Bhavani Iyer's writing Hard-hitting execution Drawback: The pace towards the final episodes Mediocre background score Analysis: Kaafir is exactly what the doctor ordered for the streaming industry in the country. It's an example of how the digital medium can be a potent tool to tell powerful, gritty stories. Unlike other series that mostly do terrific lip-service to the political machinery around the country, Kaafir talks of often-shunned topics like atheism, jingoism, political hypocrisy with utmost nuance and the need to stay human minus all the boundaries that exist around us. With a terrific lead cast and a director who clearly know their job very well, the six-hour timeline of Kaafir passes by like a breeze and yet haunts us much beyond the viewing. Which series apart from Leila can boast about this feat? Icing on the cake: A powerful ode to humanity Rating: 4.5/5

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