Yahaan (2005) *Fixed*

Yahaan is the first feature film by award winning ad filmmaker Shoojit Sircar. The movie, set in the beautiful Kashmir valley, has Jimmy Shergill playing an idealistic army captain and newcomer Minissha Lamba a Kashmiri Muslim girl.

Cast: Minissha Lamba, Mukesh Tiwari, Jimmy Shergill

Debutante director Shoojit Sircar gives us a love story wiith intelligence and emotions, boldly defying norms to make a film that is surely one of the best pictures of the year. Stars Jimmy Shergill and newcomer Minissha Lamba are impressive in extraordinary performances. Sircar succeeds in doing what Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Khalid Mohommad fell woefully short of with Mission Kashmir and Fizaa – he makes no compromises in his script and avoids pitfalls and cliches of the genre.

Well-shot and intelligently mounted, Yahaan is not only a pleasant surprise, but a milestone in historically fictional films involving the conflict in Kashmir. Though the film revolves around a love story between a Hindu army officer and Muslim Kashmiri girl in contemporary strife-torn Srinagar, religious conflicts take are thankfully relegated completely to the background. The film instead chooses to embrace the universal theme of a desire for peace and a return to the near-paradise Kashmir once was. There are no frothing fundamentalist politicians and stereotypically fanatical Indians and Pakistanis. More apparent is the suffering of the Kashmiri people as a whole. The film brings to light the aching pain of the citizens of Kashmir and a universal desire to escape from the terrpr and pain of their daily lives.

The story is simple – Adaa (Minissha Lamba) is a Kashmiri girl torn between her army officer lover Aman (Jimmy Shergill – finally in a lead role and excellent at that) and her jehaadi insurgent brother Shakeel (Yashpal Sharma). Trouble ensues when Aman´s superiors come to know his involvment with the sister of a terrorist and implicate him as an accomplice. Thus, Adaa begins a valiant attempt to save her lover from the perils of a court-martial and Shakeel is torn between his former family´s happiness and safety and his own jehaadi cause.

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