Story: A seven-year-old boy, in a quest to have his father back, calls a number he believes is God’s own cell phone. He reaches a CRPF Jawan instead, who pretends to be God and plays along, and an interesting friendship ensues.
Review: Adapted from Mohammed Amin Bhat’s play, ‘Hamid’ is an achingly beautiful portrayal of loss, love and longing in one of the world’s most troubled and militarised zones, Kashmir. What’s interesting and praiseworthy is that the writers don’t pander to jingoism, as is the case in most Hindi films about Kashmir, and stick to the point. Rehmat (Sumit Kaul) is missing, who is father to seven-year-old Hamid (Talha Arshad Reshi) and husband to Ishrat. While Ishrat tries to find her husband, like how thousands of Kashmiri women do; by going to the police and later to the morgue, little Hamid has his own, brilliant way. He calls God directly and inquires his father’s whereabouts. Where does he get the number from, you ask? Well, everyone knows Allah’s number is 786! He figures out a way to dial Allah, and the call is routed to a CRPF Jawan, who gets involved in the boy’s life, albeit from a distance.
With this simple story, filmmaker Aijaz Khan tells a thousand tales and conveys a thousand emotions. You are with Hamid when he misses his father. You can see how little Hamid’s mother ignores him, as she is shackled by her own grief to even reach out and hug her son, who is grieving, too. You see how an occupation stifles the jawan Abhay Kumar, in throes of post-traumatic stress disorder, who is longing to be with his own eight-month-old daughter. You see the self-destructive relationship between the forces and the stone-pelters and feel how both are injured in the process of opposing each other. But there’s humour, too, which helps fight the darkness, both for the viewers and the characters in the film.
Made on a lean budget, the film has top-notch production quality, a brilliant score by Andrew T Mackay and superb performances by Talha Arshad Reshi, Rasika Dugal, Vikas Kumar and Sumit Kaul. It captures Kashmir like no other film has before.
It captures the broken beauty of its bylanes and crumbling hills. It captures the sadness and the hopes of Kashmiris, which we haven’t seen before. It humanises the entire valley and lays bare brutal truths. Above all, it shows what art is here for; to pose tough questions and to show a mirror to society. So, if you need a reality check and want to know just what millions of Kashmiris go through each day, go and watch this wonderful little film in theatres.