Written by Fokiya Akhtar / Reviewed by Adva Reichman
Close your eyes, imagine a country far away, and a conflict you might have never even heard of. Now zoom in and see it play out in the form of two kids, who want nothing more than to be allowed to live freely and enjoy their childhood, and you get ‘attic boys’.
In the script, the writer takes us into the world of the Kashmiri people. Through the story of two young boys, we learn about the hardship, danger and fear that looms so heavily over their everyday lives.
We meet the boys, Kuka and Yaaru, as they exit their homes in order to meet and spend a quiet afternoon together. Through their ventures in the streets and later in their favorite hangout place, a friendly neighbor’s attic, we get a glimpse into the city, its people and overall feel.
The kids play and recall past days when it was safe to play outside and stay up late, days where they didn’t have to fear the army marching down the streets or feel like danger awaits in every corner. As they reminisce, they make sure to enjoy the present too, and devour a local food.
The sun setting marks their time to go back home. They try to sneak out of the attic and into the street, but discover a surprising curfew was placed upon the city. A curfew so tight that the soldiers have shoot at sight orders. Meanwhile, the boys’ families start to worry and are unable to go search for them. All they can do is hope and pray.
The boys decide to try and make it home, but encounter soldiers on their way out. The neighbors notice, and everyone gasps, as the kids’ lives are at stake.
One brave man decides to risk his own life in order to try and save scared Kuka and Yaaru…
The writing is beautiful, the drama is very apparent, and the story is set in an extremely interesting background. I enjoyed the exploration of a place I never saw before, and learnt a lot about the struggle its population is forced to handle.
The story is there, and the characters work. However, the script needs to adhere to proper formatting in dialogue, slug lines, introduction of characters etc. Another thing to notice is the need to avoid writing characters’ thoughts instead of actions and excessive information I cannot know otherwise. I need to read the character’s actions, not thoughts, so when this script is produced, the viewer can see what is going on.
Those changes can easily be done, as the soul and heart of the story shine. It is apparent that the writer cares deeply about the safety of the people in Kashmir and it is his hope that a change will happen.