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Sikandar
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Sikandar More at IMDbPro »

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

a very gripping look at how an ordinary boy could get stuck in a cycle of violence

9/10
Author: Sruti Vaish from India
24 August 2009

Normally I would not be attracted to a movie if someone told me it was on Kashmir or whatever, but I went along with a friend to see Sikandar and it was truly a very good experience.

From the first scene the story grips you and it kind of becomes a sort of roller-coaster ride filled with the crazy politicians, terrorists, religious leaders and normal people who comprise both the victims and culprits of the problems in Kashmir.

What impacted me the most though was the fact that somehow the story is not just about Kashmir. I remember reading about some of the middle eastern countries, and how its so easy to tempt a child into violence, as they have grown up in lives filled with violence, and so becoming an oppressor rather than the oppressed has an attraction. And that was what moved me about the movie. As we've all seen in the traielrs, the movie is about a young boy who finds a gun and who is tempted by the power the gun has to offer - to deal with his bullies, to solve some other problems, etc., and just for that, he is a prime recruit for a Jehadi terrorist group. Something in the news like this we just saw a few weeks ago.. Kasab is another example of a young boy trained into violence.

So the story is very interesting about the battles that go on in this world - small inner battles in the boys head, and well as bigger battles where the child is atually the victim of the battles played by the politicians (here very well done by Sanjay Suri, who I loved in Jhankaar beats), military (I think Madhavan did a good job - nice and easy for him as always), and the terrorists. The cinematography is really nice too, though the background music was bit odd at times.

I really liked the story of the boy, who could be a boy in any part of Indian I guess - the northeast perhaps where there are other issues of violence, or even a big city with all the tensions we have now. And I liked the thing that the movie was actually very gripping, with us wondering every few minutes where the twists would take us...

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Sikandar is a good movie

6/10
Author: sumanbarthakursmailbox from India
19 December 2009

Sikandar, written and directed by Piyush Jha, is intended as a poignant drama about the lost innocence of children in Kashmir. Despite its best efforts though, the film doesn't quite work because of a rickety screenplay that leaves you with too many questions unanswered.Parzaan Dastur stars as 14-year-old Sikandar, a football-obsessed Muslim kid whose parents were killed by militants in the Valley, and who lives with his uncle and aunt in the Kashmiri countryside now. He's routinely picked on by the bullies at school, and when he stumbles across a discarded pistol one day, he decides to keep it, and begins waving it in the face of anyone who bothers him. A local Islamic militant notices this and befriends the young boy whom he trains to use the gun. Ayesha Kapur stars as Sikandar's school friend Nasreen, who warns him to stay away from the gun and his new mentor, but the kid inadvertently becomes embroiled in a tussle between feared militants, a peace-advocating politician, and the Army. It's the writing, unfortunately, that plays spoilsport here, with poor characterisation coming in the way of your taking this tale seriously. Jha makes cardboard caricatures out of significant characters like the Army officer (played by R Madhavan), the dreaded terrorist (played by newcomer Arunoday Singh), and the peace-trading politician (played by Sanjay Suri), each of whom is saddled with clunky dialogue. While it's admirable that the film doesn't take sides when pointing out where the real problem lies, Sikandar suffers from the sudden shift in tone – it goes from a standard morality tale in its first half to a cheesy thriller in its second. There is also the issue of the unforgivable, over-simplistic climax in which the leads are absolved of responsibility for their crimes. What's more the film's jarring background score and sluggish pace also act as party poopers. On the up-side, Sikandar is memorable for its compelling cinematography of this scenic land in all its lush beauty. But sadly that is not enough to do the trick. Both leads – Parzaan Dastur and particularly Ayesha Kapoor – appear too raw to pull off consistent performances, and the plot holes are too many to ignore. Sikandar may have its heart in the right place, but its other parts needed assembling.It misses its goal by a mile.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An above average attempt to make an Indian Majidi movie

5/10
Author: bobbysing from India
7 September 2009

At times watching a movie without knowing much about it, serves as a merit. And a project not supported by any great hype can easily surprise the viewer with its novel twists and turns. That's exactly the case with "Sikandar" which manages to impress you with a brilliant start and comes up with an overall above average product based on the burning issue of how children cope up with the tense situation in Kashmir.

The best part of the movie, which stays in your memory, is its opening sequence which comes just after the statutory declarations on the screen. The director starts convincingly with the deep baritone voice of "Mohit Chauhan" singing these immortal poetic lines of famous Urdu poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz : "Gulon Mein Rang Bhare, Baad-e-Naubahaar Chale, Chale Bhi Aao Ke Gulshan Ka Karobaar Chale" Along with the soothing melody playing in the background, children are shown playing & roaming in the beautiful village lanes of Kashmir. And as a boy kicks the football lying on the ground, the songs stops abruptly, with the sound of a huge explosion. The ball, in disguise was a bomb planted by the militants. The theater goes silent and you are stunned with this unexpected start by the director.

After this breathtaking scene, the story moves into the life of a young boy and girl, who are close friends studying in the same school. Their life goes for a big turn, when once while walking to their school, they find a Gun lying on the ground. The boy decides to pick it up and keeps it in his bag. From there on, he gets caught in the web of local politics and militants working on a big conspiracy. The first half of the movie has the most impressive scenes along with few good performances from the cast. While watching the initial moments, you feel that the movie is made for a cause. But post intermission it starts moving towards a crime thriller genre and loses the realistic feel of the subject. Moreover, there are too many loopholes in the suspense element used towards its lengthy climax.

Parzaan Dastur (the child artist who played the sikh kid in "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"), plays the title role of Sikander. He performs well with an amazing ease and confidence. You can feel the innocence in his acts and facial expressions. Ayesha Kapur (the child artist of "Black"), on the other hand tries to deliver an arty performance deliberately. But in the process she fails to establish a connection with her viewers. Sanjay Suri, as the politician on a peace mission and Madhavan, as the Army Officer, both deliver controlled and polished acts and impress. However the best show comes from the debutant Arunoday Singh, playing the Kashmiri Militant. Sadly his part gets over fast as he gets killed in the first half only.

Director, Piyush Jha, comes up with a good project which could have been a much appreciated one, only if he had stuck to his basic theme. Though he started off well with a brilliant sequence but later bowed down to the commercial needs of the market. Kashmir, and its beauty has been captured well by the DOP, showing many spectacular locations on the screen. The Kashmir Militancy problem is also handled in a very impartial manner, where the military and the militants blame each other for the tense situation in the valley.

Piyush, surely seems to be impressed by the masterpieces made by the Irani director Majid Majidi. A few sequences in the movie really remind you of Majid's great movies based on children and their thinking patterns. Like Majidi, Piyush also successfully maintains the feel of his project by using music and songs intelligently. The songs are not given much footage as per the subject but background music could have been more exciting and energetic in few important sequences.

In the industry where very few projects are made with children as their central characters, "Sikandar" is an above average product which could have been much more impressive. In simple words, though it may not have great prospects commercially, but it surely is a sincere effort towards making an Indian Majidi movie.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Sikandar : An sincere Attempt

7/10
Author: raghavramaiah-1 from India
24 August 2009

Directed By- Piyush Jha

Produced By- Sudhir Mishra

Featuring- Parzan Dastur, Ayesha Kapoor, Madhavan, Sanjar Suri..

If you guys loved Parzan Dastur in Parzania and Ayesha Kapoor in Black, you'll love them yet again in Sikandar. Directed by Piyush Jha, Sikandar has a terrific script but when it comes to execution of the same is where it fails. Going by the sidelines of the tension that surrounds Jammu and Kashmir, Piyush Jha manages to capture the essence of the lives of young children really well.

Sikandar is a movie of a young boy Sikandar Raza(Parzan Dastur) who like any other 10 year old is naughty-innocent and a passionate football player. Living alone with his aunt and uncle, soon Sikandar finds a pal,a 10 year old Nasreen(Ayesha Kapoor), who accompanies him during the morning walk to school. During one such walk to school is when both of them find a gun lying on the same isolated path. Sikandar is cautioned by Nasreen not to get close to the gun but much to his curiosity takes the gun and without much knowledge is left with no other option but to use the gun to his own benefit, may it be scaring off the bullies in school or scaring people on the street. Soon he's seen training with a Jihadi militant who promises him a washing machine if he trains and shoots the person that they target on. Circumstances get way too complicated when Sikandar shoots the Jihadi Militant out of frustration and makes his life even more miserable. The army start a search operation in pursuit of the little boy and the twists that follow is something that you need to watch it yourself.

Sikandar is not a bad movie but it takes time for you to realize that its a good movie. You don't really feel for the characters like you felt for Ishaan Awasthi in Taare Zameen Par or Michelle McNally in Black. By the time you get into the rhythm and start liking that characters, the curtains are down. The main let down factor of this movie is its promise that it created with its trailers. Parzan Dastur is impressive and manages to deliver the goods well. Ayesha Kapoor's performance is average and has blank expressions in a few scenes making her look awkward. Madhavan who plays the role of a Commander of the Indian Army is also good and is supported well by Sanjay Suri.

Music of Sikandar by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is one thing that needs special appreciation. Neatly done are the tracks "Dhoop Ke Sikke" and "Gulon Mein". I will go with 7 out of 10 for Piyush Jha's Sikandar.

Originally Posted @ TalkingPopcorns.com

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

nice movie

7/10
Author: devesh pant from India
9 September 2009

its very nice movie u can watch this movie more than once This movie is mainly about 'aazad Kashmir ' u can understand the movie through this if u know about that matter. But its contain lot emotion of boy & girl and both r best friend. If u watch movie you also seen that with low budget movie director have done very good job One more thing is very good in this movie is that its very small duration movie, it's end before u get bored , most Hindi movie r too long but this is not that type of movie. u must watch this movie , u must like this movie. its contain of suspense, terrorist, terrorism , etc if u watch this in this we also seen most part of Kashmir how they live etc.. But this movie is much of home type movie rather than hall movie u must watch this movie at home in your TV or PC. don't waste your money in buying ticket

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

quiet a nice bits of twists and turns...

8/10
Author: hold-the-sky
24 August 2009

This is an interesting story i was not expecting the ending. Its set in very beautiful settings of India's lovely region of Kashmir. What I liked was that it was actually less about Kashmir as such, but more of a kind of tale of deception and intrigue - almost like a gangster film - but instead of gangsters - its a young boy who comes across a gun, and terrorists.

I actually went as I really had liked the little girl from Black and she was in this movie, and she does a very good job as the boy's friend. I also liked Madhavan, but I think he could have been there more as he is a very good actor. But overall very good performances, especially from the boy who plays the lead. The direction is also very tight - and keeps you on the edge of your seat through the explostions, gunshots, intrigue, and of course the cinematography takes you away in the beautiful region of Kashmir, and into the world of the young hero.

I think the story is very interesting and very different from normal bollywood as it tackles a serious scenraio, but in an entertaining way.

In terms of problems, I wish more of the day to day life of Kashmir was shown, and other characters also shown, and also some more focus on the football, which is what the hero's dream was - so as to show how hard it is to dream in a place like Kashmir.

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