Kashmir could also be called ‘The Land Without Cinemas’. There are no movie theaters although Kashmir is a hit location in Indian Film Industry. While Kashmiri Movie making walking on baby foot-steps. It is sure to rise with many youngsters trying to tell their stories. I personally believe that Kashmiri Cinema has all the ingredients to follow the footsteps of our Iranian Cousins. Kashmir in itself has a very indie feel. Below are some movies from ‘Kashmiri Cinema’ some vintage and some new. Before you start reading the blog, I want you to click on my Kashmiri friend’s upcoming indie Gandukh (meaning Sulfur) set in Kashmir. Looks promising and he needs encouragement. Buffer this till you finish this post.
2. Habba Khatoon, 1970s Vinayak Razdan: After Doordarshan Centre was established in Srinagar in 1972, a number of tele-films were made. These first few films were about things that all Kashmiris used to cherish, mytho-memories and words of their Habba Khatoons, Rasul Mirs and Badshahs. Among these tele-films Habba Khatoon by Basheer Badgami was probably the most popular and famous. The film had Reeta Razdan as heroine in the role of poet-queen of Kashmir and Ghani Khan as King Yusuf Chak. The songs were sung by Shamima Dev.
3. Zero Bridge, 2008 The Tariq Tapa directed film which made roars in indie circles.The story is build around a coincidence: the young thief, Dilawar (Mohamad Emran Tapa, the director’s cousin), steals the purse of an attractive, slightly older woman, Bani, whom he later meets at the office where she works. Without the passport that was in the purse, she can’t return to the United States to continue her studies, leaving her trapped in Kashmir, like Dilawar, by poverty and family ties — and also available to embark on a chaste relationship that’s more than a friendship but not quite a romance. It was reviewed in the New York Times, a big achievement. Incidentally, a Kashmiri-American Band is also named ZeroBridge. You can listen to their rock on Myspace I couldn’t find the full movie online. Please post it if you are able to.
4. Harud (The Autumn), 2010 A moving, quiet, but intense character study and political film as IMDB quotes. It raked a controversy in Kashmir. Some bloggers like Azaan Javaid, a dear friend criticised it for being too soft on the Occupation of Kashmir. Some welcomed it as well. Watch it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlxhfnFjwRY
5. Valley of Saints, 2012 Valley of Saints is directed by Musa Syeed. It is set around the Dal Lake in Srinagar, Occupied Kashmir. It was shot during the 2010 Revolt which is in the background of the movie. It won the prestigious Sundance Film Festival World Dramatic Audience Award in 2012. It tied for the Alfred P. Sloan Prize with the American film Robot & Frank. Musa Syeed is a Kashmiri-American whose father was a political prisoner during the Plebiscite Movement in the 1960s and the 1970s. His parents then immigrated to USA to start a new life. Musa Syeed returned to tell the story of the people from his motherland. The movie has fared well at many international film festivals. This surely is an inspiration to aspiring film-makers from Kashmir.
Johar in Kashmir Found this movie on YouTube. It’s not a Kashmiri language movie. But it is set in Kashmir. I think it is arguably the first propaganda movie about Kashmir Conflict by Bollywood. Talks about how bridges and Police Stations were burnt by ‘Tribal Invaders’ from Pakistan. Early distortion of reality about Kashmir. Anyway. The description reads “Tensions run high in Kashmir after the partition. Ahmed and Aslam, have another reason to fight over, which is about Salma. Salma is attracted to Aslam, but wants him to mend his ways, he heeds her advise,and joins the army.When his mom, Zainab, goes to talk to Salma’s dad about their marriage, she is killed by raiders who also kill all of Salma’s family, and abduct her. Aslam decides to track them down, arrange for the release of Salma, marry her, and bring the killers to justice”