Updated February 26th, 2024 at 15:02 IST

Article 370 Review: Yami Gautam, Priyamani Pack A Punch In Engaging Political Thriller On Kashmir

Article 370 Review: Yami Gautam delivers a commanding performance as Zooni Haksar, infusing her character with gravitas and intensity.

A new poster of Article 370 | Image:Yami Gautam/Instagram
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Inspired by true events, in Aditya Suhas Jambhale's Article 370, the audience is treated to a meticulous dissection of the events leading to the withdrawal of Article 370, the constitutional provision granting special status to Jammu & Kashmir.

The film opens with a historical overview (Ajay Devgn has lent his voice to the prologue), transitioning seamlessly into the contemporary political landscape of 2016. Yami Gautam as Zooni Haksar, an Intelligence Field Officer, takes center stage as she navigates the turbulent waters of Kashmir amid escalating unrest. Supported by Priyamani's portrayal of PMO Secretary Rajeshwari, the narrative deftly explores the intricate web of conflict, corruption, and terrorism that set the stage for the eventual nullification of Article 370.

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Hot Take

Aditya Dhar and Monal Thaakar's screenplay, complemented by Jambhale's direction, delivers a well-paced and engaging narrative. Divided into thematic chapters, the screenplay adeptly captures key moments such as Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani's death and the Pulwama attack. It delves into the various challenges faced in the region, from militancy, intense confrontations such as stone-pelting to the complexities of back-channel diplomacy. The film also touches upon separatist movements, the mechanism of double agents, and corruption among local political leadership without sacrificing momentum.

Jambhale's direction strikes a delicate balance, avoiding jingoism in favor of a well-researched, fact and event-based approach. Not to say that the makers did not take creative liberties. Much of it, of course, to stick to the narrative.

Is Article 370 worth the hype?

Throughout the film, there's a conspicuous absence of cliched tropes such as a romantic subplot and patriotic songs. The narrative is propelled forward by two dynamic women -- Gautam and Priyamani, who selflessly champion their convictions. The director focuses on their unwavering commitment to their duties, eschewing stereotypes and presenting them as formidable forces in their own right.

Yami Gautam delivers a commanding performance as Zooni Haksar, infusing her character with gravitas and intensity. Her portrayal captures the essence of a determined officer amid chaos. Priyamani, who navigates the corridors of power in her well-pleated sarees, shines as Rajeshwari, exuding calm authority amid the storm. The ensemble cast, including Raj Arjun, Rajendranath Zutshi, Iravati Harshe, and Divya Seth, delivers decent performances. However, Kiran Karmarkar's portrayal of the Home Minister and OG Lord Ram Arun Govil's as the Prime Minister lacked the desired depth.

There have been several films on Kashmir in the past. However, Article 370 distinguishes itself through its nuanced approach. At its core, the film underscores the significance of a pivotal moment in India's history. Through its impressive writing and direction, the film transcends mere entertainment, offering a thought-provoking exploration of politics, nationalism, and identity.

Watch it or skip it?

A compelling endeavour, Article 370, with its well-crafted narrative and powerhouse performances, stands as a testament to the power of cinema in illuminating the past and shaping the present. Having said that, the film does feel tiresome with a runtime of 2 hours and 40 minutes. Some portions, especially from the first half of the film, could have easily been edited out.

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Bottomline

Article 370 emerges as an engaging political drama where patriotism is served with precision. The film shines in most parts as it navigates the nuanced landscapes of political maneuvering and captures the essence of a defining moment in India's history.

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Rating: 3/5

(This review is edited by Mugdha Kapoor)

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Published February 23rd, 2024 at 20:07 IST