Article 370 movie review: Yami Gautam, Priyamani steal the show in gritty tale | Bollywood - Hindustan Times
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Article 370 movie review: Yami Gautam, Priyamani steal the show in this impactful, engaging tale

Feb 23, 2024 05:06 PM IST

Article 370 stars Yami Gautam and Priyamani as the two forces driving this intense narrative. The film informs, educates and keeps you invested for most part.

In 2022, director Vivek Agnihotri hit a nerve when he made The Kashmir Files, a film centred around the 1990 exodus of Kashmiri Hindus, and depicted the events leading up to it as a genocide, a narrative which was considered controversial and a propaganda by many. The movie also showed its protagonist urging for revocation of Article 370, but that's about it, and it never touched upon the nitty-gritty of what that meant and how it would change the lives of people of Jammu & Kashmir. Also read | 6 movies releasing in theatres this Friday: From Article 370 to Mean Girls

Article 370 movie review: Yami Gautam packs a punch and is terrific.
Article 370 movie review: Yami Gautam packs a punch and is terrific.

Two years later, we have Article 370 directed by Aditya Suhas Jambhale – an earnest attempt to show the nuances of events that led to the nullification of Article 370 that granted the state of J&K a special status, which has remained a topic of debate since 1947.

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Article 370 delves deeper into intricacies of politics

Starring Yami Gautam and Priyamani as the two forces driving this intense narrative, the film informs, educates and keeps you invested for most part. For everyone who is vaguely aware of what Article 370 stands for, its existence and abrogation, but has never really cared to understand its significance or relevance, this 2 hours 30 minutes film is nothing short of an impactfully narrated chapter that delves deeper into the intricacies of politics, and in a much simplified manner, presents an engaging watch for an average viewer to understand.

Article 370 is different The Kashmir Files

Is Article 370 an extension to The Kashmir Files? To some extent, yes, but from a very different lens, and an entirely different perspective, a refreshing one indeed. The film never resorts to a jingoistic narrative or even slight undertones, neither it tries to enter the propaganda zone. It sticks to stating facts as and when they happened, backed by meticulous and exceptional research, and that's where it truly wins.

Article 370 not only outlines the events, but also but also details them to showcase how the uncontrollable violence in Kashmir promoted the current government to abrogate J&K's special status. I liked that the makers didn't lean on the crutches of patriotic cliches to make an impact instead it chose a hard-hitting narrative to tell an informative tale. Written by Aditya Dhar and Monal Thaakar, the film allows its story to remain the hero for maximum runtime, despite some powerful performances stealing the show throughout.

Adding to the excitement of Article 370 is Priyamani, who plays a crucial character.
Adding to the excitement of Article 370 is Priyamani, who plays a crucial character.

The premise

The film opens in 1947 with sepia tone visuals and Ajay Devgn's voiceover, explaining how a part of Kashmir went to Pakistan and how Article 370 came into being. The political action thriller then moves to 2016, when following Kashmir unrest, a local agent and an Intelligence Field Officer Zooni Haksar (Yami Gautam Dhar) is secretly recruited by the PMO Secretary Rajeshwari (Priyamani Swaminathan) to spearhead the National Investigation Agency (NIA) operation in Kashmir, uncover conflict economy, fight separatists and corrupt officers, and curb terror situation, months before the abrogation of Article 370 comes into play.

The first half is a slow burn that takes time to build the momentum to set the premise, and the tragic Pulwama attack is thoughtfully used as the interval block. With a more focused approach in the second half, the film gets fast-paced and well-knit, leading up to a fulfilling climax that lasts for an exhilarating 30 minutes. Some of the of the dialogues might sound repetitive of what we've heard in numerous films based on Kashmir, yet there are many portions where some power-packed lines make you laud.

Can't overlook creative liberties makers have taken

The impactful writing is enhanced with a smooth screenplay (by Aditya Dhar, Aditya Suhas Jambhale, Arjun Dhawan and Monal Thaakar) that doesn't move back and forth, and lets key events leading up to the removal of Article 370 unfold with the desired impact. Dividing the film's screenplay in multiple chapters such as The Lover of the Tral, Blindspot, Save The Date, Sub-clause (d) and Was, Is and Always Will Be, further simplifies the plot leaving no loose ends. Kudos to Shivkumar V. Panicker's editing, who has paid adequate attention to stitching the portions in a manner that they weave a story evoking a sense of nationalism and emotions.

Though most of Article 370 is inspired by real events, one can't overlook the creative liberties that the makers have taken, at times, a bit too evident for a viewer to give a pass. For instance, the overdramatic action sequences with Yami and her colleague surviving a grenade attack without being majorly hurt, or NIA investigating suspects in closed doors.

Yami Gautam was pregnant while shooting for some portions of the film.(Instagram)
Yami Gautam was pregnant while shooting for some portions of the film.(Instagram)

Yami, Priyamani give equally powerful performance

Yami Gautam packs a punch and is terrific in her portrayal. Her no-nonsense demeanor lends a gravitas to the film and she lets her action and intense dialogue delivery do most of the talking. I particularly loved the parts when she stands up for her fellow men in uniform or confronts another colleague for always jeopardizing her breakthroughs.

Delivering an equally powerful performance, Priyamani steals the show with her restrained yet effective act. Through the length of the film, she remains the calm in all the chaos around. Not too sure how much attention is given to the styling of the characters in a politically-driven narrative but a special mention to Priyamani's lovely cotton drapes - each one of them. Films like Article 370 give you a sense of pride to see two female carrying the entire film on their shoulders with able support of a bunch of men in the supporting cast. One hopes such films serve as an inspiration for more filmmakers to write such strong, driven and phenomenal roles for female actors.

Fitting ensemble cast

Among the noteworthy ensemble cast, the ones those stand out definitely are Arun Govil as the PM and Kiran Karmarkar as Home Minister, characters based on Narendra Modi and Amit Shah respectively. Right from their prosthetics to make them look the part, their dialogue delivery to the whole aura they bring on screen, it was quite a fitting casting. Actors Raj Zutshi, Raj Arun and Vaibhav Tatwawadi, too, lend an able support to the leading cast.

Article 370 underlines one of the most crucial chapters in our nation's history. With an impressive writing, simple narrative and outstanding direction, it effortlessly manages to send across the message it intends to. Film made on Kashmir as the focal theme are aplenty in Bollywood, but this Yami and Priyamani-starrer will surely feature among the best ones out of the lot.

Film: Article 370

Cast: Yami Gautam, Priyamani, Kiran Karmarkar, Arun Govil, Raj Arun

Director: Aditya Suhas Jambhale

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