Shikara (2020 film)

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Shikara film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byVidhu Vinod Chopra
Screenplay byVidhu Vinod Chopra
Rahul Pandita
Abhijat Joshi
Story byVidhu Vinod Chopra
Produced byVidhu Vinod Chopra
StarringAadil Khan
Sadia Khateeb
CinematographyRangarajan Ramabadran
Edited byVidhu Vinod Chopra
Shikhar Misra
Music byA. R. Rahman
Distributed byFox Star Studios
Release date
  • 7 February 2020 (2020-02-07) (India)[1]
Running time
120 minutes[2]
Box officeest. 8.15 crore[3]

Shikara is a 2020 Indian Hindi-language romantic drama film produced and directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. The film is based on the Kashmiri pandit exodus of 1990. The story revolved around the love story of Shanti and Shiv Dhar, who are Kashmiri Pandits in the backdrop of the Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir.[1] The book Our Moon Has Blood Clots by Rahul Pandita has inspired many parts of the movie.[4][5][6][7]

While it received mixed reviews from critics, the audience was critical of the film for failing to tell the untold story of Kashmiri Pandits, as claimed.[8][9][10] The movie received a lot of negative reactions from general public for portrayal of Kashimiri pandits' exodus in a very unrealistic manner as opposed to the title of the movie.[11]


September 2018 (present)[edit]

The movie starts with an aged Shiv writing a letter to the President of the United States of America explaining to him the situation of Kashmiri Pandits who are living like refugees in their own country. It turns out that he has written several letters since the year 1990. His most recent letter received a response from POTUS and inviting him over to a presidential suite in Delhi. He along with Shanti leave for Delhi. In their palatial room they see a movie DVD - "love in kashmir" and recalls their first meet, marriage in Kashmir and forced exodus to Jammu.


1987 and 1988[edit]

On the set of "Love in Kashmir", a young college professor and Ph.D. student Shiv Kumar Dhar meets a medical student Shanti Sapru. They soon becomes friends with each other in their very first meet out of their love for poetry and Shiv being the author to newly published "Shikara". Soon they falls for each other and Shiv proposes Shanti with the help of his best friend Lateef Lone, an aspiring cricketer and the son of a local politician who is like a fatherly figure to Shiv. Soon they get married in a traditional Kashmiri Pandit Ritual Wedding and Lateef falls for Shanti's best friend Arti (who's also a medical student).


They soon build a huge mansion with the help of Lateef's father and names it as "Shikara"(owing to their first night spent on a Shikara). The entire community including Hindus and Muslims live together in Harmony. Their first marriage anniversary arrives and Shiv's cousin, Naveen, a doctor gifts him a typewriter to write his thesis on it. However their happiness was short lived as Lateef's father, a politician who is out for a rally is fatally injured and gets admitted at Naveen's clinic. It is stated that the police attacked him on the behest of the current central government. (However, nowhere in the movie any evidence of this situation is presented). However he dies while being shifted to a multi-speciality hospital for his surgery. Lateef cannot bear the loss of his father and crosses the border to Lahore to get trained as a militant. This incident changes the peaceful valley.


Shiv notices a lot of students from his class missing. Shanti is also made to cover her head and remove her bindi by a group of people during a bus ride. It is there she finds out that there are direct buses from Laal chowk to Islamabad and Lahore. She even witnesses a shootout that kills 6 police officers trying to stop young men from boarding these buses to militancy. Shiv is kidnapped by a few of his missing students and taken to meet Lateef who is now leading a group of militants against the Kashmiri Pandits. He warns Shiv to leave the valley before it is too late, and he is only doing so since they were friends in the past. Shiv still believes that the Kashimiri Pandits are safe, and all these changes are temporary. However, he had misjudged the situation. A hit-list is released warning all Hindu Kashmiri Pandits to leave Kashmir valley in a month. Soon Kashimiri Pandit houses are burnt down. Naveen gets killed in the chaos in front of Shiv's eyes leaving him shocked. Shiv and Shanti, along with the rest of their family manage to escape to Jammu. The couple that once resided in a huge mansion is now reduced to living in tents. They see rich and affluent Kashmiri Pandits struggling to get something as simple as tomatoes. It is at this moment Shiv starts writing letters to the POTUS (George Bush at that time) by the typewriter gifted by Naveen to tell them about refugees miserable condition.


Shiv completes his Ph.D. and decides to take a new job at Punjab University. However Shanti encourages him to teach the local refugee students. Soon he gets a call to sell his house "Shikara" at a hefty cost to the local Kashmiri Muslims to which he denies remembering Lateef's father and Naveen's deaths and he accidentally finds Naveen's coat being worn by one of the brokers which Naveen promises to gift him after he completes his Ph.D.


Over the years the Dhar family gets habituated to live in refugee quarters with Shiv continuing to teach local refugee students and writing letters to POTUS (now Barack Obama) while Shanti starts showing signs of having PTSD due to that horrible night prior to their forced exodus. One night, Shiv and Shanti are called upon by the Indian Army to meet with a now captured terrorist Lateef in Kashmir Valley. Shiv talks to Lateef, but Lateef dies soon after. Shiv and Shanti also visit their old home which has now been taken over by their once trusted neighbor. Shiv and Shanti are shocked to see how their neighbor, who they treated like family, has changed everything they had built together.

2018 (few months back to present)[edit]

Back in refugee towers, a small event of happiness comes their way. One of their neighbor's daughters is getting married. Shanti is overjoyed hoping to see a Kashimiri Pandit wedding. However, the wedding is nothing like what she imagined. There is a DJ, bright lights, loud music etc. The despair of losing not just her home but also her culture is evident on her face, and she soon collapses. It turns out that she is suffering from a neurological issue and needs surgery by one of the local refugee doctor who was once a student to Shiv in refugee quarters.

September 2018 and later on[edit]

It is before the surgery that the couple received a call from the POTUS and went to live in the presidential suite. It is then that Shiv reveals to Shanti that it was him who booked the hotel and the postman got confused by the term "presidential suite" assuming that the president had invited them over. It was their 30th wedding anniversary and he wanted to fulfill her long pending dream of seeing the Taj Mahal. Shanti asks him how he managed to pay for the suite which costs around 1.25 lakhs. Shiv tells her that he sold their house for her surgery and used some of the money to fulfill her dream. Shanti is dejected but doesn't say anything. Later Shiv takes her on a boat ride to Taj Mahal (just like their wedding night where he had taken her to Shikara). Shanti passes away in his arms on the boat.

Shiv takes Shanti's ashes to Kashmir like he had promised her and decides to stay in his parents' old house. He starts teaching young boys there hoping that they don't turn into terrorists like his best friend did.


  • Aadil Khan as Professor Dr. Shiv Kumar Dhar (Shanti's husband)
  • Sadia Khateeb as Shanti Sapru Dhar (Shiv's wife;a medical student at the time of exodus)
  • Zamir Ashai as Khursheed Hassan Lone (Shiv's fatherly figure, Lateef's father; local politician who dies right before exodus paving way for Lateef to become a terrorist from an innocent aspiring cricketer)
  • Zain Khan Durrani as Lateef Lone (Shiv's best friend; Khursheed's son; Arti's love interest;former local cricketer turned terrorist)
  • Priyanshu Chatterjee as Dr. Naveen Kumar Dhar (Shiv's cousin; a reputed doctor who gets murdered in the exodus)
  • Vinay Raina as Shiv's Father
  • Bhavana Chauhan as Arti (Shanti's best friend, Lateef's love interest; a medical student who dies in the exodus)
  • Ashwin Dhar as Mohanlal
  • Farid Azad Khan as Rehmana
  • Saghar Sehrai as Haji Sahab
  • Mushtaq Kak as Masood Sahab
  • Anjana Sood as Shiv's mother
  • Faiyaz Dilbar as Shanti's father
  • Shahid Lateef as Yunus
  • Ajay Kaul as Manoharlal Kaul
  • Sandeep Verma as Registration Officer
  • Rahul Kilam as Raina's Son
  • Ravi Braroo as Raina Sahab
  • Rahul Pandita (from jagti known as badshah bhai) as Direction director


In March 2018, it was reported that a film was shot under the title "Love and Letters" in Kashmir by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. In an interview later, he mentioned that almost entirely film was shot in Kashmir. Initially in Summer, then in autumn and again in Winter. Only refugee camps were recreated in Mumbai and some sequences in Agra, but this part of story is brief. Shots in Kashmir included several places such as the Lalit Hotel in Srinagar, on shikaras in the middle of a lake, on the backwaters of the Dal, in a desolate Hindu house, near Hazratbal and many more.[12]

Some scenes were reported to be shot in Wandhama near Ganderbal, where one of the biggest massacres occurred in the Valley. Twenty-three Kashmiri Hindus – four children, nine women and ten men – were massacred in 1998.[13]


Lead characters of Kashmiri birth, Aadil Khan and Sadia were cast to lend authenticity. Several Kashmiri Pandits were selected for principal cast. Also, to make refugee camps as similar as possible to the real ones 30 years ago (19 January 1990), actual refugees were cast. Approximately 4,000 out of 400,000 refugees, who are currently inhabitants of Jagti Nagrota Migrant Camp and other refugee camps agreed to take part. They were women, children and older people. Refugee camp scenes were shot for several days and nights in Bhagwati Nagar, Jammu.[citation needed]


The film was released on 7 February 2020.[1] It was released digitally on 4 April 2020, on Amazon Prime Video in India.[14]


The film received negative reviews from critics with many criticising the weak history plot. The Times of India gave the movie 3 out of 5 stars, and called it largely a one-sided story which does cater to the cinematic appeal of certain movie-goers.[2] Jyoti Kanyal of India Today also gives the movie 3 out of 5 stars and writes that the story "beautifully combines real incidents and a fictional love story".[15] Both TOI and India Today praise debutantes Sadia and Aadil Khan.[15][2] Newslaundry reviewed the film as a successful love story but a failed political drama.[16]The Hindu gives a more critical review, saying that "Chopra buries politics under the garb of ‘love and hope’" and ends up making the movie simplistic.[17] Livemint also comments on the 'simplification of politics behind the exodus' in the movie.[18] Nandini Ramnath of also writes a similar review, weak in history, strong in love.[19] Firstpost also gave the movie 3 out of 5 stars.[4] According to The Wire, the film is "a poetically told tale that someone loses its way".[20]


Soundtrack album by
Sandesh Shandilya, Abhay Sopori and Rohit Kulkarni
Released6 February 2020[21]
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelZee Music Company
External audio
audio icon Official Audio Jukebox on YouTube

The film score was composed by A. R. Rahman and his apprentice group Qutub-E-Kripa. This marked Rahman's first collaboration with Vidhu Vinod Chopra, 26 years after Rahman declined an offer by Chopra in 1994.

The film's songs are composed by Sandesh Shandilya, Abhay Sopori and Rohit Kulkarni with lyrics written by Irshad Kamil, Bashir Arif and Raqueeb Alam.

Track listing
1."Mar Jaayein Hum"Irshad KamilSandesh ShandilyaPapon, Shradha Mishra3:58
2."Ghar Bhara Sa Lage"Irshad KamilSandesh ShandilyaPapon, Shreya Ghoshal3:47
3."Shukrana Gul Khile"Bashir ArifAbhay SoporiMunir Ahmad Mir2:36
4."Chattar Pattar"Raqueeb AlamRohit KulkarniMika Singh3:38
5."Teri Arzoo Mein"Irshad KamilSandesh ShandilyaPapon, Kaushiki Chakraborty4:07
6."Ae Wadi Shehzadi"Irshad KamilSandesh ShandilyaPapon3:35
7."Umr Guzri"Irshad KamilSandesh ShandilyaAadil Khan2:26
Total length:24:07

Box office[edit]

Shikara earned 1.20 crore at the domestic box office on its opening day. On the second day, the film collected ₹1.85 crore. On the third day, the film collected ₹1.90 crore, taking total opening weekend collection to ₹4.95 crore. The lifetime collection of the film in net gross India was ₹8.15 crore.[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Vidhu Vinod Chopra's upcoming film 'Shikara - A love letter from Kashmir' is slated to release on THIS date - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Pallabi Dey Purkayastha (7 February 2020). Shikara Movie Review: Love that stands the test of time, war and conflict, retrieved 7 February 2020. The Times of India.
  3. ^ a b "Shikara Box Office". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  4. ^ a b Sharma, Devansh (7 February 2020). "Shikara movie review: Vidhu Vinod Chopra's account of Kashmiri Pandit exodus is strikingly poetic but seldom urgent- Entertainment News, Firstpost". Firstpost. Retrieved 7 February 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Vidhu Vinod Chopra's 'Shikara - A Love Letter From Kashmir's' trailer to be out on THIS day". The Times of India. 5 January 2020. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Vidhu Vinod Chopra brings searing pain of Kashmiri Pandit genocide on film". India Today. 7 January 2020. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Vidhu Vinod Chopra Highlights 'Untold Story' of Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990". India Today. 7 January 2020. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Five Reasons Why Chopra's 'Mission Kashmir' Failed With His New Flick - Shikara". Latest Asian, Middle-East, EurAsian, Indian News. 10 February 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  9. ^ "Kashmiri Pandit woman lashes out at Vidhu Vinod Chopra at Shikara screening: I disown your film". India Today. 8 February 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  10. ^ "Shikara review: Beautiful but not the untold story of Kashmiri Pandits it is marketed as". ThePrint. 7 February 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  11. ^ "Exclusive! Vidhu Vinod Chopra REACTS to #BoycottShikara, calls it 'dumb' - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  12. ^ "If I were to live my life again, I would tell God: Please, let me be born in Kashmir". Condé Nast Traveller India. 15 January 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  13. ^ Raina, Anil RainaAnil; Mar 16, Mumbai Mirror | Updated; 2018; Ist, 02:30. "Vidhu Vinod Chopra returns to Kashmir for his next". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 18 January 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ amazon prime video IN [@PrimeVideoIN] (4 April 2020). "watch the story of shiv & shanti come alive in shikhara! live now:" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  15. ^ a b Kanyal, Jyoti (7 February 2020). "Shikara movie review: Vidhu Vinod Chopra's love letter from Kashmir". India Today. Retrieved 7 February 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ Rao, Niraja. "'Shikara' delivers an atmospheric love story, but fails as a political drama". 📢 Newslaundry. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  17. ^ Rosario, Kennith (7 February 2020). "'Shikara' movie review: A simplistic and tepid weepy". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  18. ^ Jhunjhunwala, Udita (7 February 2020). "Film review: 'Shikara' simplifies the politics behind the exodus". Livemint. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  19. ^ Ramnath, Nandini. "'Shikara' movie review: The romance triumphs over the history lesson". Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  20. ^ Thakur, Tanul (7 February 2020). "Movie Review: 'Shikara' Is a Poetically Told Tale That Somewhere Loses its Way". The Wire. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  21. ^ "Shikara - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Jio Saavn.

External links[edit]