You may change your location and check showtimes in a nearby city.
Times of India
A father fights with an orthodox seminary so that his son can receive English education, even as he tries to amend a past mistake.
Quality education is the right of all kids. But all kids in India don’t get that. At times, there are economic factors and other times, which happens more often than we think, there are social factors that deprive kids from getting proper education. Alif is a film that tries to address that fact.
Raza (Danish) is filled with guilt as he marries off his sister Zahara (Neelima Azeem) to Pakistan after the 1993 riots. She has a hell of a time there, but still, when she returns, she hasn’t been defeated by her circumstances there. Her heart is still tender and her views progressive. She wants Raza’s son Ali (Saud Mansuri) to quit the local Arabic seminary in Banaras and study to be a doctor instead. Their neighbour is a poet --- (Aditya Om), a hardliner himself who teaches in the seminary. Raza agrees to send his son to an English medium school instead of an Arabic madrasa. However, it is not easy for little Ali to make the transition. He has to cram 12 years’ worth of English and face hellish treatment from teachers who don’t like a madrasa kid in their midst. They try to derail his education and treat him mercilessly. Meanwhile, Raza, in order to keep his sister in India, falls prey to blackmail by a neighbourhood teacher in the seminary, who threatens to crush his chances of making up to Zahara.
Marketed as a ‘festival’ film, Alif has many good points, along with a strong story, which shows how an orthodox approach to education, in this case in Islam, can ruin lives; both young and old. However, execution and performances fail this film from rising above being anything more than a film with a ‘message’. The actors are shrill and over the top in their performances barring Danish, who plays it so understated that his emotions barely come through. Neelima is the only saving grace, as she brings a certain warmth and humanity to this bleak landscape.