Thursday, March 17, 2022



Saw ‘Kashmir Files’ yesterday . It was 7.30 pm show at PVR (KC) ,Bakshi Nagar, Jammu. Want to say something about what I saw and what I feel . 
At outset , let me be very clear that this is not a film on Kashmir or what happened in Kashmir . It is a story of the hapless Kashmiri Pandit community that faced multi-edged sword of terrorism that was invited , encouraged and supported . The monster was let loose on Pandits with a nefarious design and purpose . In the movie under review , you will only see the pathetic story of what befell a peace loving community. If you have come to see something else in this film, you are boarding a wrong train. Better get down. It won't carry you to that desired destination.
More than 50% of the people who came to watch the movie were non-Kashmiris. The silence , the sobs, the sighs and the long breaths of many people watching the film didn't demonstrate anger. For me , it reflected human helplessness and a deep sense of anguish at the behaviour of those whom people trusted and who betrayed them. A failure of friends, neighbours and leaders at the critical turn of the history . A failure compounded by indifference, hate, and silent complicity.
I liked the cinematic brilliance in many shots of the film. Let may talk about the scene showing people huddled up on the backside of a truck speeding in moonlight towards an unknown destination. People moving towards a place that they don't know. Most certainly moving towards uncertainty. In the background ,one can hear Habba Khatoon ' song 'Tsolhama Roshe Roshe ' . It looks as if a helpless mother( Kashmir ) is weeping for her children who are fleeing to save their life and honour. Anupam Kher has given his best as Poshker Nath. He has not only understood the behaviour of an exile but dived deeper into the script to give his best. Being a Kashmiri himself , possibly he has been exceptionally sensitive to the subject. This sensitivity is reflected in his acting. Watch his dialogues , diction and speech as he speaks Hindi or Urdu. His pronunciation is typical of a Kashmiri in general . This role makes him taller and comparable to some of the greatest actors of the world cinema. Pallavi Joshi has done full justice to her role as Prof. Radhika Menon. Bhasha Sumbli as Sharda Pandit is brilliant and perfect . She touches your heart portraying the helplessness of the tormented and the sufferer .Bhasha is a graduate from NSD and I am sure she will be seen more and more in Hindi films . The role of Krishna Pandit played by Darshan Kumar is spectacular . Watch him addressing the students . Watch him as he makes Prof. Menon ( Pallavi Joshi ) move out from the crowd . Brilliant and Kudos . Mithun Da is once more superb and impressive .
I liked the long shot scenes wherein Krishna is shown moving in a boat in the lake that is frozen. The shot conveys too much and the unspoken .I could feel the hard work and involvement of Vivek Agnihotri in the project . He uses typical Kashmiri proverbs like ‘ Sheena Pyeto pyeto “ and "Ghar vandhahai ghar saasa" in his dialogues . He uses poetry of Habba Khatoon to convey the unspoken. The scene when Krishna Pandit comes back to Kashmir to sprinkle ashes of his grandfather in their ancestral dilapidated house and Mithun Da invokes Lord Shiva reciting :-
“ Khshantavyo Meparaadha . Shiv Shiv Shiv Bho , Shri Mahadev Shambho “ is sufficient to understand how deep and serious study was conducted by Vivek Agnihorti to know rituals and customs of Kashmiri Pandits . This Shloka is often recited by every Pandit while giving final bath to the dead body and preparing it for Anteshti or Final Samaskaara.
Possibly paucity of time could be the reason for the film makers for not presenting what befell this hapless community after 1990. I mean deaths due to heat stroke ( In June 1990, 11 persons died of heatstroke in three successive days ) , the struggle for educating their children ,non-transfer of their bank accounts from the valley, cramped tent life , bureaucratic apathy at every step , crumbling of the joint family structure , fight against ailments ( diabetes, hypertension, depression ,insomnia, Parkinson’s disease etc.) and many more issues .
' Doadh kyah zanane yus no banne' ( He who has not experienced pain himself , How does he know about the pain of others ?) , said Lala Ded. Only an exile knows the value of every tear drop that is being shed inside cinema halls by sufferers these days. Only an exile knows what home and homeland means to him. The shock of what every sufferer went through is deep and down somewhere inside the soul . It can't be removed by any material possession . It can't be compensated by any aid, assistance or financial support. Yes ,a sympathetic understanding may help the victims to come out of it .That shall be the first step towards building bridges .
There is nothing in the film against any religion or community . Those who say so have either not seen the movie or belong to the group that peddles the fallacious ‘Jagmohan Narrative’ about the tragedy of the Kashmiri Pandits . Jagmohan came only after Pandits were fully terrorized by waves of brutal killings unleashed upon them. Jagmohan arrived after Pandits had lived through the frightening night of 19th January 1990. May be this concocted narrative helps the tormentors to cover up their own guilt. A guilt that is deep in the conscience. A guilt that requires courage and conviction to admit. 
Jean Paul Sartre said, ' A liar is already in possession of the truth '. Truth can not be covered by baseless noise and lies. Truth and acceptance of other man's sorrow and suffering can alone act as a bridge. Those who created this Frankenstein ( terrorism ), will have to stand up,deal with it and finally destroy it . Believe not the noise created against a film that presents truth about what happened to Pandits . Go and watch the movie. That alone shall pave the way for understanding human pain, suffering and helplessness . The film is a call for introspection. And that introspection alone shall create a way forward for peace and mutual trust.
( Avtar Mota )


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