Director: Rahat Kazmi
Cast: Saurabh Shukla, Brijendra Kala, Vipin Sharma, Raghubir Yadav, Tia Bajpai, Furqan Merchant, Shoib Kazmi
For some reason, Kashmir has not been explored that often in a Hindi film. It perhaps has to do with the sensitive nature of the state politics; regardless, as a result, this paradise-on-earth has been reduced to a mere motif of late. Against such a backdrop, Identity Card is a film that attempts to look beyond; it aims at highlighting the inhumane side in a grim tale. But the movie is burdened by expectations and sadly, it doesn’t deliver.
Saurabh Shukla’s and Brijendra Kala’s characters are well-sketched in 'Identity Card'
Since the rise of insurgency in the ’90s, identity cards have become a must to move around in Kashmir. This film tries to show the senselessness behind harassing the common people. It doesn’t point fingers at anyone and at the same time, it provides us with heartwarming nuggets. Debutant director has a grand story to tell. But this story, despite its climactic punch, has been dragged unnecessarily thanks to wayward subplots — not to mention dialogues in Dogri that are not accompanied by subtitles.
On the other hand, the background songs in local language add value. In this film, a Delhi-based journalist wants to make a documentary on Kashmir but she seems to have got it all messed up. She gets in touch with a virtual friend from the state who refers her to a local guide. It’s difficult to grasp how she could have managed to shoot a film with zero assistance, given that her friend isn’t a technician and nor is the guide. Anyway, the special task force arrests them and pulls them in for questioning. They accuse the trio of planning to carry out terrorist attacks. It’s only in the climax that the pieces fall in place and you get an idea about what really was going on.
Identity Card has a run-time of less than 88 minutes — with some scenes repeated for no apparent reason — when it could have been much shorter. There’s a lack of consistency in the plot and it becomes clear when the movie reaches its conclusion. A short pictorial lesson in the history of Kashmir at the end of the movie may seem well-meaning, but here too, some lines are repeated. Was the editor on leave?
As far as performances are concerned, the youngsters show promise. But compared to them, the seasoned actors get a better deal in that their characters are well sketched. Identity Card would have made greater impact if it were presented as a short film instead of a full-length feature.