Known for his impressive acting jobs Aamir Bashir dons the director's mantle with Harud. Born and raised in Kashmir, Bashir has seen the Valley transform into the volatile war zone that it has come to be known as. Keeping his association with the state in mind one expects Bashir's Kashmir based film to rise above the recent mediocre and highly insensitive films that have Kashmir as a backdrop.
Harud is the story of a young Kashmiri man, Rafiq, who has grown up in the war-torn state amidst the looming presence of the gun. Unable to deal with a mother who refuses to believe his missing elder brother might never come back and a policeman father who is far too cautious, Rafiq's life becomes a tightrope walk. He decides to become a militant and also tries to cross the border but doesn't really go the whole hog. Once back he struggles to get along with his life but his brother's disappearance, his mother's optimism and his father's paranoia overwhelm him. Somehow life takes a turn when Rafiq finds his brother's old camera.
Inspired by the roll he discovers in the camera Rafiq dreams of becoming a photojournalist. From delivering newspapers he joins a local news agency but things don't come easily in life yet Rafiq doesn't mind waiting. Suddenly a light shines in all the darkness with the camera in his hands and Rafiq sees some kind of a meaning in his existence. He starts accompanying his mother to the Missing People's family demonstrations; starts helping his father who seems to be losing his mind after a bomb blast. He starts feeling the air in his lungs and is ready to take on the world without trading a piece of his soul but life has other plans in store for him
Final Words on Harud
Bashir handles Harud with all the care and love such a story deserves but the film fails to rise above the bar it decides to set for itself. Shot on location Harud captures the fabric of present day Kashmir and the mood of its young men but never really takes off once it sets up the premise. The film starts off with great promise but once Rafiq returns back to his life as he has known it to be the screenplay fails Harud. This is also the point in the film where the visuals start getting more prominence over the story. While cinematographer Shanker Raman's work aides Harud to a fair length it also seems to take over the reins.
Written by Bashir, Shanker Raman and Mahmood Farooqui Harud's languid pace and the somber mood can be justified to a great extent by the filmmaker who didn't intend his film to preach. Yet this very personal story of a young man ends up losing much of its potential and sheen to the bigger thought of making some kind of subtle statement. Towards the last quarter of the film Harud becomes very riveting and the end deserves all the praise but having said that the film only works at a surface level.