The film is a wonderful attempt in sending a message of love over hate
Marking its 21st year this year, Tongues on Fire brings back the UK Asian Film Festival this year with a bang. Focusing on the subject of Revolution, the opening night was celebrated with the showing of Aijaz Khan’s ‘Hamid’ (2018); heartfelt story of a boys plea to god over the phone, to bring his father back.
Hamid (Talha Arshad Reshi) comes from a small loving family, where he father dotes on his every request. However, living in a land of conflict where the Indian Army are seen as the enemy, Hamid’s father goes missing. With his mother dismissing him, the young boy discovers God’s number is 786. Upon finding his father’s old phone, he works out a phone number with these three digits, thinking the rogue Indian officer named Abhay (Vikas Kumar) that answers is God. After which tells the story of how this innocent little boy attempting to get his father back, does more than have a simple request for the soldier.
Khan tells a wonderful story that simply tugs at one’s heartstrings. A simple concept told through the eyes of an eight-year-old boy is clever and very well thought out, where the director has engrossed his audiences completely. Playing on the innocence of a child wrapped up in a chaotic, dangerous and fearful environment, Khan is able to make the terror of what’s happening around Hamid, all the more prominent. Khan shows an amazing ability to create a film that carries intense emotions throughout the film, where the film will leave a lasting impression on all that go to watch it.
Reshi is absolutely brilliant playing the young Hamid, where he is able to make the audiences got from crying to laughing in seconds. His ability to portray such high emotions is highly impressive where he is loved from the very beginning. Throughout the film Reshi, though a small child, is the strongest character on screen even when he’s not the only one in the frame. Kumar is another actor who the audiences grow to love. The sudden change in his character’s attitude as he speaks with Hamid captures the hearts of the audiences immediately, where they can’t wait to hear what he will answer with to Hamid’s questions. Kumar is able to adapt to each situation in such a way that the affection for his character grows, even when he reveals the truth to Hamid. Rasika Dugal is also a brilliant addition to the cast. Playing the role of Reshi’s mother, she is ruthless and at first unloving, where she makes the audience feel uncomfortable. Matching up to her co-stars, she also has the ability to make her audiences sympathise with her character.
Overall, the film is a wonderful attempt in sending a message of love over hate. The innocence of a child is always understood, where the things Hamid says are things that most people have heard children of their own say. Though the circumstances in which the characters are in, is very alien to many who don’t live in those conditions, simple dialogue and using question children would normally asks, makes this film relatable, reflecting on the things that one would hold important. It also raises the question of, if one could speak to God, what would they ask? And how through God, can people change for the better