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Film Reviews


Murtaza Ali

July 1st 2013

An independent film critic, sports writer, freelancer, and blogger based out of Delhi, India. He has been writing movie reviews at IMDB.COM for last five years. He is the Founder/Editor of the movie blog, A Potpourri of Vestiges.


The K File is a 2012 short film directed by acting coach, educationalist and independent filmmaker Oorvazi Irani. Written by Farrukh Dhondy, the movie presents a unique solution to a great moral dilemma that engulfed our nation and haunted its leaders for almost half a decade. The nightmarish reality of the 2008 Mumbai attacks shook us all to the core. Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, a Pakistani militant and a member of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, was the only attacker to have been captured alive by police. While Kasab was finally awarded the death penalty by the trial court on the 6th May 2010, it was not until the 21st November 2012 that the verdict was actually exercised. Now the delay could be easily attributed to the various legalities involved. After all, the constitution of Indian provides the accused with the right to appeal at different levels during the course of a trial. But, there was obviously a political angle involved as well which played its part in the further procrastination of the proceedings. The brilliance of The K File lies in the fact that it touches upon the explicit as well as the implicit in the most subtle fashion. The movie mixes fact with fiction, leveraging upon the power of cinema, to conjure up an otherwise nonexistent parallel reality. The fact and fiction blend in so seamlessly that after the first few moments it becomes almost meaningless to separate the two. The viewer gets sucked into this hyper real world as he/she witnesses the events unfold right in front of his/her eyes. And, needless to say, Oorvazi and team achieve all this and more in the most striking and skillful manner.

Cinema is the greatest means of communication ever devised, for the message reaches everywhere and to everyone. While the masses look upon cinema as a great means of entertainment, they fail to acknowledge its power as a great source of leaning and education. Commercial filmmaking is partly responsible for this lack of awareness about cinema. While speaking about international cinema it’s imperative that one also talks about the independent filmmakers. This highly determined breed of artists, buoyed by their inexorable passion for cinema and undeterred by the paucity of resources, play a pivotal role in the constant evolution of cinema. These ingenious filmmakers prove to be a formidable driving force by inoculating the world of cinema with their novel, revolutionary ideas which from time to time lay the foundations of much grander works of art. These ideas also play a pivotal role in the rediscovery, improvisation and development of various attributes of cinema that make it the ultimate medium of human expression. A great facet about movies that’s often overlooked is that they can serve as a great means to indentify as well as find solutions to all the quotidian problems. Since the commercial filmmakers these days seem to mainly focus on the frivolous, the onus once again lies with the independent filmmakers to capture and contemplate upon what’s truly real. The K File is one such honest attempt on the part of its makers to demonstrate how sophisticated and consummate a medium cinema truly is.  

Despite the seemingly obvious, The K File is not merely limited to providing a solution to the great dilemma surrounding the trial of Kasab and in actuality is far broader in scope. It is for this reason the movie hasn’t lost any of its relevance even today now that chapter of Kasab seem to have been closed. For, Kasab’s hanging doesn’t change the reality that our leaders lack the vision and moral values needed to exorcise the ghost of terrorism. Despite spending billions on our Defense budget, we still find ourselves incapable of formulating stringent policies and laws needed to curb terrorism and the forces that breed it. If a country like the US can have such a strong stance of not negotiating with the terrorists under any condition why can’t India? Our weakness in this regard is best underlined by the Kandahar hijack incident. The beneficiary Masood Azhar since his handover (by the Indian government) to the hijackers of Indian Airlines Flight 814 at Kandahar has gone on to mastermind several terrorist attacks against India. Isn’t it preposterous that despite knowing that terrorism has no religion, we—the leaders, media, and the masses—talk of “Hindu Terrorists” and “Islamic Terrorists” as if they were two distinct entities? We all need to be educated about “terrorism” the same way we need to be educated about “sex” in order to increase the awareness levels. The ignorance might very well make us vulnerable to our enemies, if not today perhaps in the days to come. After all, what is Naxalism but a form of terrorism bred by the germ of ignorance!  

The K File touches upon so many critical aspects within a shot duration of ten minutes. The film can be appreciated in so many ways. One way to look upon it is as a propaganda film. Another way to asses it is to see it as a social and a political commentary. While the movie has several elements of a documentary, its hyperrealistic feel elevate it to a whole new level. The K File also proves to be an effective lampoon on moral and cultural decadence. While the director and the writer need to be lauded for their efforts, a fair share of the credit must also go the two actors Sanjay Nath and Tushar Ishwar who brilliantly essay the roles of the terrorist and the home minister, respectively. The level of realism that these two seasoned actors bring into the movie is indeed commendable. While the movie’s opening scene wherein the terrorist nonchalantly demands the prison guards to arrange for a plate of mutton biryani in order to fulfill his final wish is a master class in itself, the final scene of the movie that finally resolves the dilemma to the catch 22 situation—albeit in a rather wacky manner—makes for an absolutely jaw-dropping climax.       

Overall, The K File is an enthralling film with deep hidden meanings. The movie being is a great specimen of filmmaking is a must watch for the students of cinema. And it’s of utmost importance, in my humble opinion, for every Indian to spare ten minutes out of his/her busy schedule in order to watch the movie. The K File is available for free screening on YouTube.   ]








Hemant Morparia
Here is a short film that will get your attention, be discussed and generate some noise in the process. Oorvazi Irani is an energetic, enthusiastic and ambitious filmmaker, who has stepped out into this world with a step that is sure and confident. Based on a short story by Farrukh Dhondy, this film is taut, and deftly directed. The music is of particular note, in step with the exegencies of the film as it twists and turns. The film directly alludes to the issue of Kasab in detention, and the popular debate around it. In that sense, it sets out as a slightly ‘populist’ film, providing a closure of a kind, and catharsis even for many. Perhaps Oorvazi/Farrukh even hint at a solution here, it could be and will be, argued. Oorvazi Irani shows skills as a director that may lend well to Hindi cinema. The acting of the person playing the minister is competent. I predict this film will be widely seen and discussed in online forums. It may well be a ‘sleeper’ hit and be around for a long time.

An interesting dilemma

1 June 2012

Amitava Nag reviews The K File


Amitava Nag,

a software engineer by profession, has been writing on films since his college days. He edits the bi- lingual film magazine Silhouette

The K File – Unplugged
Oorvazi Irani’s short fictional film (of approx nine and half minute’s duration) The K File is staccato in its representation yet passionate and forceful in interpretation. The director has taken care that she gets everything right from the start. Or may be even before that. The film poster for example is striking – black and white smeared with red with a question on it – “A wrong to do right or the right to do wrong?”
This is smart since in a short feature of less than ten minutes to establish the reel reality you cannot afford to be liberal with your narrative time-line. To be economical may mean being discrete. Putting the poster ahead hence serves the purpose of rolling the ball for the audience along with the opening shots – deftly cut and fudged, we as audience are aware of the plot. Yes, it is about Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist of the 26/11 attacks. But not exactly him. There are two characters in the film – Asab, the terrorist (modeled on Kasab) and the country’s Home Minister who fears hanging Asab will reduce the Muslim votes for his Government. When confronted with the question that there had been several innocent Muslims who were killed in the attacks as well and that the common Muslim is against terror as much as a common Hindu, the minister retaliates citing the other few Hindu terrorists who were yet to be hanged. Interesting is this dilemma of the Minister as an individual, his Government as an organization and the country as the dumb population. Trying to be impartial means justice delayed and eventually denied.
There are few hand-held shots with local lightings and slight jerky movements with the camera angle shifting as the story unfolds. The end complements the camera trajectory of sizing up of the terrorist. In a blurry, fuzzy finale, it wasn’t known whose bullet pierced Asab’s neck – what the country’s governance can’t do. Is it the director who puts an end to this dilemma? Or the audience’s wish-fulfillment used as a motive here like the fly which is so suggestive?
The film is released on 28-May-2012 online (http://www.facebook.com/TheKFileMovie) since the director knows that the widest spread of a short film is to use the internet. This is predominantly a free show and what matters is the film reaching Indians and the world commune trying to fight terror.
Where do we leave the film then? It is a reality which the director took in her hands and fictionalized for her message to come through. Oorvazi’s script is simple, basic and sharp. The genre of the film is based effectively with the background score – definitive and at times thunderous. Most importantly, there is no one message as the director doesn’t become prophetic. She in turn, sets the audience in front of few questions – the moral standpoint of terrorism and our action against it. There is no viewpoint of Asab though. What lures him and the others like him to take up arms to kill people? There are no bigger sacrifices that they are ready for. That exploration probably would have made this into a bigger venture. But as the audience it does come to the mind if such findings are worth dealing with – not for Asab only but for any future attacks on humanity.
Oorvazi may not know but that bullet in the end came straight out my hands and heart, and there are no qualms about it!

Amitava Nag, a software engineer by profession, has been writing on films since his college days. He edits the bi- lingual film magazine Silhouette.


BY Rachana Parekh 8.00 PM IST 05.28.2012

Film Journalist

‘ The K File’ Movie review: A bold solution to a dilemma called ‘Mohammed Ajmal Kasab’

A 10-minute short film that has been released online attempts to provide an answer to the socio-political dilemma that has haunted India since the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks

It’s been over three years since ten young men from a neighbouring country (Pakistan) entered Mumbai in broad daylight and went on a two-day killing spree through the city. While the inhabitants of the financial capital of India have managed to go back to their routines after 26/11, the Indian judiciary and government still wonders what to do with the sole surviving terrorist, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, who is said to have killed over 100 people.

Filmmaker and film educationist Oovazi Irani’s fictionalised short film The K File – written by Farrukh Dhondy and produced by Sohrab Irani – starts from this controversial point in reel life. The ten-minute short begins with a home minister (played by Gujarati theater actor and model Tushar Ishwar) wanting to hang terrorist Asab (played by Sanjay Nath, who has acted in films like Paathshala and Chance Pe Dance and TV’s Crime Patrol, Bandini and Khotte Sikkey) for the terror attacks in his city. But the minister has to deal with a political dilemma. He also knows his decision to hang the culprit will invite a lot of controversy and affect his Muslim vote bank. So for months he grapples with himself for a solution, and eventually finds a way to deal with Asab’s case.

Director Oorvazi, inspired by Iranian cinema, braves to find a solution to a real life situation by merging fact with fiction and she is successful to an extent. Whether it’s the right way or the wrong way to reach a conclusion is debatable. But the film’s end definitely echoes thoughts of all those awaiting the rightful punishment for real-life terrorist Kasab for his horrific act.

Sound and music designer Ayan De’s haunting background score brings in the pathos required for the socio-political drama and cinematographer Martin Xavier’s use of red, black and white in the visuals complements the mood of the story. Both actors – Sanjay as the terrorist, and Tushar as the minister – seem comfortable playing their respective parts.

Oorvazi Irani’s screen adaptation of Farrukh Dhondy’s script The K File is a daring take on the controversial situation.


By Rasik  – Film Reviewer

THE K FILE – A Short Film Review

Ajmal Kasab’s trial has been a matter of great frustration to the people of India. It has been more than 3 years since his arrest but an end to the matter is still not in sight. Oorvazi Irani’s short film K-File attempts to give a vent to the simmering anger amongst the public. The film definitely succeeds in its intentions and ends up being a cathartic experience for its viewers.

K-File, though purposefully heavily borrowing from the real world, chooses to take the fictionalized route to reflect on reality. The story and screenplay by Farrukh Dhondy is of a Home Minister facing the dilemma of the case of a terrorist(Asab) under a long controversial trial, much like Kasab’s in the real world, and the solution he employs to put the whole matter to an end.

Oorvazi Irani has deftly handled the job of direction. She and Farrukh Dhondy are brave enough to explore sensitive topics like minority politics without any inhibitions.  The film is high on drama but not even once does Oorvazi let it go overboard. The performances that she has been able to extract from her actors, Tushar Ishwar as the Home Minister and Sanjay Nath as Asab, also go a long way in maintain the drama at a level that is very close to its boiling point but never crosses the mark. Sanjay Nath deserves special mention here for his exceptional performance as there is every chance of an actor hamming the role of a character which is a widely hated figure in public and thus reducing it to a caricature. Nath has also perfectly picked up the dialect and the tonal qualities you expect from a terrorist from Pakistan. Tushar Ishwar also makes the character of the Home Minister caught in a tricky situation very believable.

Martin Xavier’s cinematography also deserves a lot of praise. Oorvazi Irani who also doubles up as the art designer has shot the film at locations which feel very real. The prison cell is particularly notable. Also, Xavier’s use of light in the prison cell gives the whole atmosphere a grim and authentic look. Sorab Irani as the producer should be lauded for backing such a project. The production values right throughout the film is up to the mark.

The character of Asab feels slightly one-dimensional but there is nothing else you can fault with Dhondy’s script. The Home Minister is very smartly introduced by the screenplay with the use of dialogue. Finally, the fantastic twist in the story in the end certainly catches you unaware. Once the movie has sunk in after the end credits roll,with Ayan De’s effective background score, a smile is left on your face as you wonder whether the film has indeed found out a solution to the dilemma.


Riddhiman Basu

A software engineer by profession, yet an individual with varied passions. Literature and Music have been my passions since childhood. Cinema as a passion came later, but soon caught up with the others.

The K File – A bold take on the Kasab conundrum

 26/11/2008 – A day that would forever be etched in the memory of Indians. On that day, lots of disbelieving eyes were glued to the television set, witnessing the rape and humiliation of their commercial capital. The shock that such a full-fledged terrorist attack could be executed, that their country was so vulnerable to the intelligence agency of their neighbour, was perhaps more than the horror of the actual events. That day, they came to know the name of Muhammad Ajmal Kasab, for the very first time. Ajmal, the 20 year old, belonging to the Kasab(butcher) tribe had indeed justified his name to a sinister extent. His young age drew no sympathies. The people detested him, hoping for a quick and exemplary punishment.
The scenario three and a half years later –  Kasab had been found guilty and sentenced to death numerous times by several courts in India, the latest being Bombay High Court on 21 February 2011. On 30 July 2011, he moved to the Supreme Court of India challenging this sentence and managed to obtain a stay order on the previous verdict. These three and a half years have perhaps been the most comfortable time in his life. Staying under the protection of the government, getting his choicest meals in jail, this was a life Lashkar-a-Taiba could never give him.  The question that has naturally sprung up is that why, even after all these years has this brute not been brought to justice? What is the reason for this delay, when the nature of the convictions are nothing but certain? There have been speculations. Is it India’s penchant for fairness, even in the face of such an appalling crime? Or is it something deeper, the desperate effort by the government to maintain its secular image, a deliberate inaction to secure the vote bank of a particular community. Whatever be it, it has resulted in an immense frustration for the Indian citizens.
It is from this frustration (or rather because of it?) that Oorvazi Irani’s short film ‘The K File’ takes off. From this splice in space time in the territory of fact, the film takes a leap into the realm of fiction and spins off an alternate history of our contemporary times.
The film begins with the footages of 26/11 and the verdict of death penalty for Asab(the counterpart of Kasab in the film, played by Sanjay Nath). Next we see Asab in jail, where he speaks in a mocking tone about his last wish of having mutton biryani. This is a tricky reference to the fact that Kasab is being given his choicest food in jail, as well as his confidence that despite the death sentences, he will be hanging around for long.
 Next we see the home minister(Tushar Ishwar) in conversation with a judge. In this segment, he describes his dilemma and the tricky position he is into, since he wants to bring Asab to justice without endangering the Muslim vote bank. Throughout the sequence, the camera is focussed on him. This monologue like treatment is perhaps intended to stress the fact that the onus of handling the actual matter and of being accountable to his party and the public lies on the home minister alone and the person(s) giving opinions on what could be done have hardly any significance in this context. When the minister negates every opinion, we come to understand the fix he is into.
With the passing of months, the helplessness of the minister and Asab going through a train of thoughts are depicted. Asab’s coming to a decision is portrayed though a stiffness in facial expression and a shadow movement on the wall. He bribes the minister with information on ISI in exchange for his freedom. After his phone conversation with the minister, we witness the minister’s thoughtful expression. It seems that the he is perplexed. However, this is only a red herring, as we find out later.In the jail sequence, the wasp sitting on the minister’s hand sets the stage for the drama to follow. When the minister appears to be tacking a wasp that got into his clothes, thereby exposing the gun in his coat pocket, the buzzing soundtrack makes the audience a part of the deception along with Asab. He snatches the gun, holds the minister on gunpoint and tries to make an escape. In the final scene, we see Asab being shot through the glass of the car window. This is portrayed through a bullet time sequence (that is generally accompanied with a heartbeat, no exceptions here) and a change from natural colour to a colourless tone (a de-saturation or draining of colour), which are both effective in portraying Asab’s approaching death. When Asab tries to shoot the minister in turn and finds the gun not loaded, he finally realizes the trap he has played into.  The person shooting Asab is deliberately masked, giving a point-of-view shot thereby placing the audience in the role of the shooter. Indeed, the shooter is an embodiment of the collective hatred of Indians towards (K)Asab. The minister gives a sly smile, befitting his intelligence, and the film ends with a close up of the bullet hole in the glass.
For a 10minute film, this has quite a number of elements related to cinematography. Martin Xavier’s camera work is commendable. The dimly lit sequences in the jail and Asab’s shadow on the wall as well as the de-saturation effect towards the end and the close up of the bullet hole are very well executed. There is an interesting aspect in the camera angle with which Asab is portrayed. Towards the beginning, he is captured from a low angle. As the film progresses, the camera moves up culminating in a crane shot when he gets into the car along with the minister. This hints towards a gradual loss in the significance of Asab, from the audiences’ point of view. While towards the beginning, he had seemed a gargantuan presence, towards the end he is reduced to a plaything in the hands of the minister. (This was hinted at in Oorvazi’s Interview on making the film) However, this is not apparent until one has witnessed the complete plot and therefore requires multiple viewing to appreciate.
Ayan Dey’s soundtrack is perfectly in sync with the pace of the movie, especially the use of a fast paced track in the climax sequence and the violin in the final sequence with the minister smiling. Besides doing the background score, Ayan has also handled the editing for this film.
Both the actors have done justice to their roles. One aspect of the film is that is it quasi-realistic, hence it does not strive to align itself with the reality. Hence, the character of Asab is not exactly Kasab, but is rather a personification of our projection of a terrorist as amoral, fanatic and without remorse. Sanjay Nath carries off this archetype brilliantly. His expressions emphasize the heartlessness of a terrorist throughout. He makes the sudden switch from a defensive to an offensive mode very believable. Tushar Iswar looks sharp and blends perfectly with his role of a responsible minister as well as a political mastermind. His smile in the final sequence is very measured, it aptly reflects a satisfaction of beating Asab at his own game, rather than joy or relief.
Oorvazi, as a director prefers the surrealist and avant-garde genre.  From this standpoint, 26/11 was a different and challenging subject for her to make a film on. However, her foray into the thriller genre (I prefer to call this film a thriller rather than a political drama) has been immensely rewarding. She has done a lot of groundwork for the film through the process of interviewing common people, a senior crime investigation journalist, as well as the victims of 26/11, recordings of which have been used as promotional videos for the film. I remember telling her in light humour, that I have never seen this kind of an hour long promotion for a ten minute film. But in reality, I admired her sincerity in getting immersed into the subject, which is a preliminary criterion for any filmmaker, yet which is seldom practiced. Her earnest efforts have paid off. She indeed holds a mirror to our contemporary times, highlighting its stark realities, through her quasi-realist film.
The script by celebrated novelist/screenwriter Farrukh Dhondy is certainly a winner. The representation of the dichotomy of Asab; a man without principles, someone who wants to betray ISI in exchange for his life, yet someone who screams ‘Jihad Zindabad’ when he secures a gun, was interesting. The conceptualisation of the home minister as a young, intelligent and thoughtful person was also very apt. However, the script really stands out for the sheer brilliance of its idea.
And finally it would be a crime not to make a mention Sorab Irani, Oorvazi’s father and the producer of this film who was responsible for bringing this script to her and supporting the film throughout with his constant encouragement. With his years of experience as a veteran producer, he had the vision to recognize the immense potentiality of Farrukh’s script. According to Oorvazi, this film would not have been made, if not for him.The best thing about this film is that it reflects the current political scenario in India, that is perhaps responsible for the delay in Kasab’s punishment(thus giving voice to the common people’s speculations), yet refrains from making any statement against it; rather comes up with a bold solution within the feasibility of the current framework. There lies the USP of the film and the script.
In the end, it must be said, that in spite of a good script, this film would not have been so well executed without the efforts of all the people associated with the film and above all the director, who knit it together, with passion and precision.‘The K File’ has been released on the Internet on 28th May, 2012 and is available in the following youtube link

Posted by at 12:04 AM


The K-File

By Fatema Kagalwala  – Film Reviewer and filmmaker

Film – The K File
Producer – Sorab Irani
Director – Oorvazi Irani
Writer – Farrukh Dhondy
Cast – Sanjay Nath, Tushar Ishwar

The number of freedoms a short film provides harks the adage that famously goes ‘world in an oyster.’ Oorvazi Irani uses the format to put out an idea that in reality is irrational but a dearly held one. Set against the backdrop of the heinous terrorist attacks of 26/08, the film deals with the last interaction of Kasab, the only apprehended criminal behind it and the Home Minister of our country. In this altercation the Home Minister finds a ‘solution’ to what has become a national problem for almost five years now, what do we do with Kasab?

With the run-time of ten minutes the film keeps it focus and ambition short. It begins on the day of execution of Kasab, a decision that doesn’t sit well with the vote-bank politics of the ruling party. It shows us the Home Minister mulling over the problem and we know the political motivation behind the film is from the point of view a commoner seeking justice. It is of an eye that sees justice being more important than the political games our ministers play.

In keeping with the narrative pith, the visual style is focused too. Shot with mostly mid shots and close-ups, the film captures our attention and keeps us there. The film is about an idea that revolves around the people and hence the visual design keeps its people always at the centre-stage. The actors on their part perform with grit and power but we don’t have much to really know what is going on in their minds and that seems to be the design of the narrative.

The film then follows onto the said interaction and from then on to the denouement, which is simple and easy. Done with a subtle tongue-in-cheek tone, the climax plays out as a cathartic wishful thinking exercise that we can ill-afford in a creative medium otherwise. Oorvazi Irani uses it to visually paint the silent wishes of millions that till today crave for vindication and justice. Leaving us with a sigh that loudly says, ‘If only.’


One comment on “Film Reviews

  1. This was a nice short film and showed how we can deal with such anti social elements trying to destroy our country if we decide to act swiftly with such criminals….

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