Well-meaning but ineffective: Nakkash Review

Cast: Inaamulhaq, Sharib Hashmi, Kumud Mishra, Rajesh Sharma, Pawan Tiwari, Gulki Joshi, Harminder Singh, Simala Prasad (Special Appearance)
Director: Zaigham Imam
Rating: * * ½
As an attempt to highlight secular ideals between the Hindu and Muslim communities in Varanasi, this film written and directed by Zaigham Imam is a fairly noble effort. Unfortunately, the screenplay doesn’t work up a consistently believable frame-up.

A talented Muslim Craftsman, widower/single father of a young boy, Alla Rakha (Inaamulhaq), gets boycotted by his Muslim community for peddling his artisanship in a Hindu temple. His son is refused admission in the Madarsa school and the volatile situation between communities leads him to be beaten up brutally by the partisan police. The temple priest Vedantji (Kumud Mishra) is on his side though. But is that enough for Allah Rakha and his son’s safety in a constantly curdling atmosphere of mistrust and violence?

As long as the narrative concentrated around Allah Rakha grappling with his out caste position in the township and struggling for survival, it worked. The minute the plotting veered towards his friend Samad’s (Sharib Hashmi) inexplicable and totally contrived betrayal, the narrative lost force and gravitas. The way the narrative played out i.e. shadowing Samad and Allahrakha’s brotherly relationship to the point of Samad becoming a mother figure to his son – the subsequent betrayal seems unbelievable.

It was inconceivable that Samad would steal the temple’s gold (which was in Allah Rakha’s care) in order to fund his father’s dying wish of going to Haj. Also, the performances here are not very convincing either. Inaamulhaq tries to imbue weirdness in Allah Rakha as a characteristic of his artistic mindset but it doesn’t ring true at all. Sharib Hashmi as Samad, the friend turned foe, isn’t believable either. Even Kumud Mishra’s role as Vedantji leaves a lot to be desired. The script fails to give believable arcs to the characters within while the editing seems to be a little too cut happy to tell a story in its entirety. This film is, sadly, a failed attempt at calming troubled waters!

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