'Article 370' review: A well-made paean to the ruling party

The fact that the movie is technically good only makes it more dangerous

Article 370 movie

As far as disclaimers go, the makers of Article 370 have done a thorough job. So thorough that anyone wishing to call the movie partisan or equivalent to a puff piece would have to think twice. 

However, the opening sequence is not so thorough. The voice of Ajay Devgn spits out the most nauseatingly oversimplified version of history that the makers could think of. 

But, at the end of the day, it is a movie. So, let us talk about that. 

The most notable feature of Article 370 is an additional layer of hate that has been written into Yami Gautam Dhar's leading character, intelligence operative Zooni Haksar. This helps to ensure that Haksar's flaws and emotional approach do not reflect badly on actual Indian operatives.

For her part, Yami, who has proven herself to be a competent actor in the limited opportunities that she has got so far in her career, does a convincing job. But, there is one scene in particular in which she was perhaps too emotive. 

The supporting cast was good. Priyamani does justice to her role as a PMO employee. Arun Govil and Kiran Karmakar, who played the prime minister and home minister respectively, deserve credit. The two roles that could have served the minimal purpose of resembling real-life Indian leaders got elevated due to the duo's good acting.

The rest of the cast is a mix of slightly engaging personas and caricatures of overused cliches.

The movie scores on technical aspects like sound and cinematography. And the narrative is nuanced enough to invoke the defence of artistic licence against anyone who is inclined to criticise it for propaganda.

If it was not inspired by true events but a work of fiction, director Aditya Suhas Jambhale would have deserved credit for making a decent movie. 

But, the story being what it was, more effort was needed to ensure that it became palatable to a broader spectrum of Indians. This includes patriots who maintain that they do not have to fall in line with the beliefs of the majority, no matter how strong they are. 

For example, the characters who create problems for the Indian government in the movie could have been given more depth to balance out the narrative. This could have shown that innate humanness is the only thing that truly unites us. But they do not require any depth if the intention is only to use them as pawns to lionise the protagonists.

The second half was surprisingly engaging. But, that may just be the most dangerous thing about Article 370. Then again, it is just a movie. And one that was made fairly smartly.

Film: Article 370

Director: Aditya Jambhale

Cast: Yami Gautam, Priyamani, Kiran Karmarkar

Rating: 3/5

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