A group of Kashmiri-American film-makers, based in Los Angeles, hope to “rebuild Kashmiriyat” through their upcoming short film The Pashmina, staring actor Anupam Kher as lead character.
Directed by Kashmiri film-maker, Danish Renzu and written by Boston based award winning, Sunayana Kachroo, The Pashmina will be based on Hindu-Muslim brotherhood in the Kashmir Valley.
The movie will be highlighting the early Kashmir that how Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims lived in harmony before the turmoil started in late 80s and how Kashmiri Muslims are waiting for the return of their Pandit brethren.
The film-makers believe that the Kashmir was considered as most secular region of the world but the turmoil changed it completely. “The agenda behind making of this film is to bring Kashmiri Pandits back to their homes as they left years ago,” says Danish Renzu, the director of the movie.
“The protagonist of the film is a local Kashmiri man, Firdous, who lives with a hope that his Pandit friend, Roshan, will return to Kashmir one day. The friendship and the loyalty for his Pandit friend doesn’t change over the years.”
“Self-Realization is very rare to achieve, the path is treacherous and testing but the knowledge and skill is within,” says Sunayna Kachroo, who has written the script. “Many Sufi poets have walked through the pious land of Kashmir valley as people were receptive, spiritually enlightened and liberal at the same time.”
“If you are willing to look a little deeper you will still find the traces of unity thriving here,” says Kachroo, adding that are many untold stories of survival and of brotherhood that have been overlooked and ignored and their aim through this film is to bring forth this aspect of Kashmir. “We want to highlight the cultural nuances that are never shown by mainstream film-makers. There is more to Kashmir beyond Bollywood and as film-makers it is imperative we show that side too.”
For them, the film is real with the mesh of “old bridges over river Jhelum, Sheer Chai, Dal Lake early morning, Zoon Dabb, Hot Kehva simmering in traditional Samavaar, farmers working in the fields, Wular lake, Hari Parbat, Hazratbal.” One of the producers of the film, Jaspreet Singh, believes that Kashmiris are lucky enough to be born in that region and it is the people who are working hard to protect their culture.
Renzu also believes that with the rise in media space has been provided to countless stories that challenged many assumptions of the society. He says that although the mainstream media continues to show bias in the representation of many issues related to Kashmir. “Journalists, writers, and film-makers from around the world are exploring reality that Kashmir is facing for the years. I am doing my part to contribute to these efforts by trying to bring to highlight a very sensitive and overlooked issue.”
The Pashmina will be screened at major film festivals all over the world to convey the message at a global platform.