Article 370 Movie Review

Article 370

Article 370

Times Of India's Rating 3.5/5
avg. users' rating 4.8/5
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Cast: Yami Gautam Dhar, Priya Mani, Vaibhav Tatwawadi, Arun Govil, Kiran Karmarkar
Direction: Aditya Subhash Jambhale
Genre: Drama, Action
Duration: 2 hours 40 minutes

critic's rating:  3.5/5

In the aftermath of the 2016 Kashmir unrest, a young local field agent, Zooni Haksar, is picked out by Rajeshwari Swaminathan from the Prime Minister's Office for a top-secret mission. Their aim? Cracking down on terrorism and putting an end to the billion dollar conflict economy in the valley, by doing the absolute impossible - Abrogating the notorious Article 370. That too, without spilling a single drop of innocent blood – goes the official statement from Jio Studios. That kind of sums up the film in totality. Director Aditya Subhash Jambhale has made a 160 minute long explainer on why the government took the step of abrogating Article 370, with the government’s point of view firmly in place. There’s even a powerpoint presentation about the same highlighting the legal nitty gritties. 

Aditya Dhar, who is one of the producers of the film, has married a proper action thriller with a political film, turning his wife, Yami Gautam Dhar, into an action hero in the process. She’s a fine actress indeed and has taken to doing action like a duck to water. She’s the only heroine perhaps who held a gun properly in films. Her stance is perfect and so are her movements as she takes cover and runs towards her target. But it’s not only doing action where she scores. She plays Zooni Haksar with the emotional depth the character deserves, investing lots of angst and sorrow in her character. It’s the anger of a common Kashmiri who is tired of the violence and the unrest and finds herself unable to take it any more. When she’s given a chance to become an agent for change, she takes to her assignment with full commitment. Be it her confrontation scenes with the militant supporters or her subdued romance with CRPF soldier Yash Chauhan (Vaibhav Tatwawadi), her expressions are bang on.

The film rests on her and Priyamani’s shoulders. The South actress plays a straight-laced bureaucrat who sorts out problems for her political bosses with a smile. Be it dealing with the red tape or with probing journalists, her smile never slips. Her Rajeshwari Swaminathan is  the shield to Zooni’s sword and the two women support each other at every turn. It’s great that the director made two women as the protagonists. He could have easily cast two macho actors in the roles and the film would have become something that glorifies alpha males. Since two women have been cast, the narrative becomes more nuanced by default. 

Arun Govil makes an entry as the PM but he doesn’t quite cut the same commanding figure as Modi is in real life. The same is true of Kiran Karmarkar, who plays the Home Minister. 

The film is a cracker of an action film and if one doesn’t dwell on its political stance much, can be thoroughly enjoyed as an action thriller. 

Trailer : Article 370

Abhishek Srivastava, February 23, 2024, 2:24 AM IST

critic's rating:  3.5/5

Article 370 story: Zooni Haksar, an Intelligence Field Officer, is recruited by the PMO Secretary for a classified assignment aimed at dismantling the conflict economy and combating terrorism in the Kashmir valley, just before the implementation of the abrogation of Article 370.

Article 370 review: Despite its lengthy runtime of over two and a half hours, ‘Article 370’ remains engaging for the most part. This drama, inspired by real events yet embellished with creative liberties, underscores the necessity of abolishing Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu & Kashmir. The film asserts that the current government's decision to revoke the article was justified. In its portrayal, the filmmakers strongly emphasize that the suffering of Kashmiri residents stemmed from the collusion between corrupt local leaders and militants. The first half is tense and skilfully sets the stage for the plot. However, the intensity somewhat tapers down in the climax, which leans towards overly dramatic cinematic tactics rather than realism.
The film's storyline follows Zooni Haksar (Yami Gautam Dhar), an intelligence field officer, who is relocated to Delhi following a ‘botched’ encounter despite its success, as deemed by his superior. As the government moves to abrogate Article 370, PMO Secretary Rajeshwari Swaminathan (Priyamani) shoulders much of the groundwork. She assembles her team and appoints Zooni to spearhead the NIA operation in Kashmir. The journey to preserve peace and unity in the valley navigates through the obstacles posed by corrupt local leaders and militants.

It's heartening to witness two actresses commanding the spotlight and carrying the entire film with their performances. Yami Gautam, portraying Zooni, delivers a commendable performance with her no-nonsense demeanour, showcasing the evident dedication and reaping deserving rewards. Priyamani, portraying an IAS officer, embodies the role convincingly with a controlled performance that hits the mark. Raj Zutshi, portraying a Kashmiri leader and thrice former Chief Minister of J&K, along with Raj Arun as Khawar Ali and Vaibhav Tatwawadi as Commandant Yash Chauhan, offer dynamic support to the ensemble cast.

‘Article 370’ attempts to evoke a sense of nationalism, taking creative liberties along the way. One fails to comprehend the necessity for Zooni to resort to impersonation to access amended documents from the J&K Secretariat, as accessing those documents could have been a straightforward job for her. Nonetheless, this film marks a promising debut from director Aditya Suhas Jambhale, a two-time National Award-winning director, hinting that a lot can be expected from him in the future. ‘Article 370’ proves to be a worthwhile watch, offering enough substance to keep viewers engaged and invested.