“Hamid, your hope is haunting. I wish I could call up Allah and ask him questions about everything that I lost, back in the time, back in my past.”
Hamid is a story of a little Kashmiri boy whose father has gone missing. Nobody knows where he has gone, not even Allah. The movie begins on a helpless note. In fact, it will continue to make you feel helpless throughout. Its perpetual helplessness would haunt you, and eventually, it will seep into you. You would know that the idea of hope is vague, but then the movie is all about it, about hope.
One night, when Hamid’s father returns from work, he forgets to bring a cell phone for Hamid, one that Hamid had been waiting for. Hamid’s father promises to come back with the cell and cycles away. Hamid sees him going through the narrow balcony from which a slice of the Kashmir sky is visible.
He never returns. People mislead Hamid by telling him that his father had gone to be with Allah, and Allah needed him to repair Jannat (heaven). He comes across all these lies about his father gone missing. The ambiguity about his father’s location leaves him with the hope that Allah would know, and he keeps looking for Allah, for answers, for his Abbu (father), but he never finds them.
I was heartbroken when I saw Hamid fixing his shoes with a nail, and even more when he could not say that to his Ammi (mother), Ishrat.
In Ishrat, we have someone who hides her anguish about her missing husband. The unsupportive and negligent system does not affect her, but the realisation that her husband had become one amongst many who would never return to their homeland finally breaks her. The truth, in the end, redeems her. But who knows if that’s the truth! She says, “Allah hai to, par parwah nahi karta” (Allah exists, but he doesn’t care).
At the other spectrum of the story dwells a CRPF military man, who perpetually longs for home. He wishes to hold his newborn daughter in his arms. He wants to go home. He lives under consistent guilt, in the aggressive and harsh environment of the camps that had become home to him now.
Then there’s aggression that’s building up beneath the delicate narrative of Hamid. People have lost their sanity, and everyone has a legitimate reason for it. Even Hamid is shown throwing a stone at those ‘police wale’ and that’s how helpless he feels. Even Allah lied to him about being Allah. The story has a magical edge, but eventually, you know it was all a lie, and you would be shattered, like Hamid.
The story gradually unfolds to show that it isn’t really about finding Hamid’s father, but about forgetting him and coming to terms with loss. The TV that was been switched on since Abbu last left, the sweater that Ishrat, Hamid’s mother, had been knitting, the boat that was left unfinished by his father—all of them tell the same story, that Hamid’s father is never coming back. And above all, the strain that had come to exist between Ishrat and Hamid also gets washed away in tears.
There are so many other nuances, other micro-tales that lie beneath the macro-narrative. Most of them remain unarticulated. Putting words to them would make them tangible, so they are left to tell their own stories, silently.
Hamid is a realistic tale of hope, helplessness, innocence and about the love that does its best to survive amongst the puppets of hostility.