Film: Identity Card
Director: Rahat Kazmi
Cast: Tia Bajpai, Prashant Kumar, Brijendra Kala, Saurabh Shukla, Raghubur Yadav, Vipin Sharma
Storyline: An ambitious journalist who yearns for a 'worthwhile' assignment, Nazia (Tia) is sent to Kashmir by her boss to put an end to her constant pestering. What was ostensibly an otherwise safe project (she's sent to do a documentary on the beauty of the valley) turns out to be a nightmarish experience when she is caught in the cross-fire between the Special Task Force (STF) and terrorists.
Director Rahat Kazmi's Identity Card suffers from a fatal flaw: merely cobbling together a cast with a string of theatre actors, and choosing a 'sensitive' issue, is never enough to guarantee a hit. Unless, of course, you are able to back it up with a solid message. On that count, Identity Card falls flat on its face.
If Kazmi thought that making a statement on the touchy subject of rehabilitation versus punishment for the valley's young who've jumped to the wrong side of the law would resonate with the audience, he's in for a rude jolt. Not for anything else, but for the simple fact that Identity Card fails to leave you with any lasting impression of either the valley's youngster's angst, or even about the trouble in Paradise.
Starting with the usual spiel of a young journalist Nazia (Tia Bajpai) and her search for a story, we are taken to Kashmir, only to see her sucked into the crossfire between corrupt policemen and terrorists. She and her friend and guide are abducted by the Special Task Force and tortured.
On the face of it, Identity Card tries to be judgmental on a range of issues, including religious intolerance, the problems commoner's face in the state, and the Special Task Force's ruthless ways while dealing with youngsters on the wrong side of the law.
The problem with Identity Card is that it tries to be too ambitious with the canvas it chooses. Kazmi's intentions may be noble, but he couldn't control one basic essential -- that it takes a lot to cobble together a range or social issues in one story and still keep it interesting. Identity Card tries to send way too many social messages and comments on our system, but none of them are part of one composite narrative, leaving the audience hungry for some story or even a thread joining all of it.
Even the lead actors fail to impress with their acting, except for perhaps Raghvir Yadav, Vipin Sharma and Brijendra Kala. Sharma, who plays the STF SP, impresses the most and has some of the most interesting dialogues to his credit. Sample a few:
When an inspector says that his wife isn't happy as they haven't had their honemoon trip, Sharma says, "Stop imagining honeymoons, start imagining funerals."
Towards the end, when Nazia thinks her guide Raju has been killed and accusses the SP of killing innocent people, he answers, "Hazaaro logo ki jaaan bachane ke liye char-panch begunaah marta hoon, wo marenge, aur main maarunga."
If anything, Vipin Sharma's acting is what stays with you. Watch the film, if you must, for the intentions and Sharma's skills.