Review Hindi

Veergati review: A succinct juxtaposition of Kashmir's stone pelter and an army man

Release Date: 21 Aug 2019


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Suparna Thombare

This 60-minute ZEE5 film, is an earnest, but simplistic story, questioning the core values of patriotism.

In the past, many feature films have delved into the Kashmir issue, the Indo-Pak relationship and the Army in the troubled state from a variety of perspectives. In Veergati, director Raju Desai, puts the focus on the stone-pelters vs the Indian Army conflict.

The Kashmiri youth are often hired to attack the Indian security forces deployed on the streets of Kashmir, during protests by rebel organisations demanding a free state.

In this 60-minute film, Desai juxtaposes the lives of two Muslim youth, one, an army officer from the Maratha Light Infantry and the other an unemployed boy from Srinagar, Kashmir, who signs up to pelt stones at members of the Indian Army.

As unrest grows in Kashmir, Salim (Nikhil Chavan), who has just reached his home near Satara, Maharashtra, for vacation, is called back to the troubled area. His proud patriotic parents (Yatin Karyekar and Radhika Harshe) and fiancee know that country comes first and bid him goodbye with a heavy heart.

Meanwhile, an unemployed and penniless Hussain (Gaurav Ghatnekar) and his mother struggle to put food on the table. Brain-washed by a speech on jihad by a rebel leader and attracted to the money he can earn, Hussain decides to sign up to throw stones during a major attack on the Army.

A string of events brings Hussain and Salim face to face, juxtaposing the two parties stuck at the centre of the Kashmir issue.  

We have often skimmed past the stone-pelting youth of Kashmir in newspaper headlines, and Veergati gives us a closer look at where these youngsters come from and what their motivation is, even though it is a brief one.

Chavan's wide smile and earnestness work for his army man character. Though Ghatnekar emotes well, his heavy Marathi accent is markedly different from the other Kashmiri characters, and he sticks out like a sore thumb. He is surely miscast in this one.

Karyekar, with all his experience, excels in the emotional scenes, and makes the last scene worth your while.

Overall, the characters, screenplay and dialogues, feel a little flat as the writers rely on token scenes to take the story forward.

What writers Abhiram Bhadkamkar, Irphan Muzawar and Rushikesh Turai do well though is to slowly and steadily build towards the final face-off between the army man and the stone pelter.

Veergati is an earnest, but simplistic effort. It simply presents you with the events and doesn't delve deeper into the complexities of the situation or its characters.

Engaging in parts, the film does manage to question the core values of patriotism and one’s duty towards the country through the story of a martyr’s tragic fate at the hand of his own countryman.    

Veergati was released on ZEE5 on 26 January and is now available for streaming on the platform.

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