A film on Kashmir may not be shown to its residents


Ians May 21, 2010

MUMBAI: The makers of Lamhaa, a film based on Kashmiri militancy, are facing problems in showcasing it to a Kashmiri audience for the simple reason that there are not many proper and operational movie theatres in the valley.

The film is all set for release on July 16. As much as director Rahul Dholakia wants to take the hard-hitting political drama for its initial screening into the valley, there is no way he can do so. Dholakia is at his wit’s end, “Lamhaa was made for the people of Kashmir. It is about their life, their anguish and their politics. How can I not show it to the people of Kashmir?”

“The film belongs to them. It is unimaginable for me that the rest of the world would watch Lamhaa and not the Kashmiris,” he added.

Dholakia now plans to take the print and projection equipment to screen the film at key centres of Jammu and Kashmir on his own. “There’s no option but to follow an unconventional method to get the film screened in the valley,” he said.

Although several situations and characters in Lamhaa are based on real Kashmiri politics, producer Bunty Walia and leading man Sanjay Dutt are reportedly advised not to play up the Kashmiri card.

“It is not as though I’m playing down or distancing myself from the reality of the valley. But considering how volatile the situation is, it is better not to get any section of Indian politics hostile about our film,” said the director.

To de-accentuate the political side of the film, the producer now plans various glamour events connected with Lamhaa, including a fashion show featuring Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu, Kunal Kapoor and Anupam Kher at the forthcoming IIFA awards in Colombo. The actors in Kashmiri attire will walk the ramp with India’s top models but Dholakia hopes that they are not downsizing the film’s powerful message about peace in the valley by glamorising Lamhaa.

Films set in Kashmir Roja

The Mani Ratnam film Roja starred Madhu and Arvind Swamy. Rishi (Swamy) is abducted and held for ransom by a group of militants demanding an independent Kashmir.

Dil Se

Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Manisha Koirala and Preity Zinta, the film explores love between a radio executive and a beautiful revolutionary against a backdrop of political trouble in the Indian part of Kashmir.

Mission Kashmir

Set in Kashmir during 1989 and 1999, an Indian Muslim police officer (Sanjay Dutt) adopts the lone survivor of a family he had massacred. When young Altaf (Hrithik Roshan) finds out the true identity of his stepfather, he flees, seeking revenge as a freedom fighter.

Jaal-the trap

The film, starring Tabu, Sunny Deol and Anupam Kher, is about Kashmiri militants trying to kidnap the Indian home minister’s daughter to get their leader released by the Indian government.

Fanaa

Starring Rishi Kapoor, Aamir Khan and Kajol, the film was set on Kashmiri militants trying to commit acts of terrorism against the state through their diligent operative, played by Aamir Khan.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2010.

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