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Harud, which has already impressed the international audience on the film festival circuit, is set in Kashmir and focuses on the people helplessly trapped by conflict and fate. The best part of this film is its honesty and the subtlety with which the story is told.

In its simple approach, Harud tries to showcase the fear that envelopes the Kashmiris in their everyday lives. The film focuses on Rafiq (Shahnawaz Bhat), who lives near the border of India and Pakistan, which has been wrecked by violence since insurgents took up arms in the late 1980s. Ever since his older brother Tauqir disappeared, Rafiq has felt emotionally defeated and has tried to slip into Pakistan to join the fight but he has been unsuccessful.

Tauqir’s disappearance has also taken its toll on Rafiq’s parents: his father Yusuf (Reza Naji) can barely deal with his fear, and mother Fatima (Shamim Basharat) is trapped in denial. When Rafiq finds Tauqir’s old camera, it gives him a new lease of life.

Aamir Bashir, who is known for his acting career, makes his debut as a director with Harud. Though his story-telling skills lack zest, he does impress with the honesty behind the film. But he needs to pay more attention to detail.

Many scenes end abruptly and are inconclusive like the one where Bhat delivers newspapers. The proceedings are pointless. Nevertheless, a special mention must be made of the sequence portraying the confrontation between Rafiq and his mother regarding his brother. Cinematography is beautiful. Music and background score are apt. Editing could have been tighter.

Performance-wise, Reza Naji, who has starred in acclaimed films like Children Of Heaven and The Song Of Sparrows, impresses this time as well. He portrays his character with ease and plays his part with élan. Shanawaz Bhat gets into the skin of his character. Salma Ashai is fabulous. The rest of the cast fits the bill.

Verdict: Flop

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