Vidhu Vinod Chopra promotes Shikara – film on Kashmiri Pandits

#dailynews60 : The hate needs to be hated and not people, was a message from film director Vidhu Vinod Chopra at a special screening of his film “Shikara” which revolves around exodus of Kashmiri Pandits.

A resident of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state, an emotional Chopra dedicated his movie to his mother who passed away in 2007.

Chopra said the message “must go out to the whole world and in India that the only thing to hate is hate.”

“We live in a country where all the Muslims of Kashmir supported me on a film on the exodus of the Pandits. This was Kashmir and Insha-Allah (God willing) this Kashmir will come back. We will go back and live the way we used to. This is my hope,” the director said.

On this day in 1990, the militancy rose its ugly head threatening the Kashmiri Pandit community which led to their exodus to Jammu, Delhi and other parts of the country.

Chopra was speaking at a special 30 minute-screening of “Shikara”, which was attended by Kashmiri Pandit refugees from Jammu’s Jagti migrant camp, along with Abhijat Joshi and Rahul Pandita, the other two writers of the film.

The filmmaker, best known for producing films such as the “Munnabhai” series, “3 Idiots” and “PK”, urged the politicians and media to raise the issue in the Parliament.

“I’d like to ask them ‘what did you do for the past 30 years?’ Nobody listened to us all these years. There was no noise in the Parliament. At least make some noise now,” Chopra said.

Pandita, a writer-journalist, said the film is the true story of many of the Kashmiri Pandits.

“We were asked to leave our houses within a matter of weeks. All of us left like that, suddenly. My mother was exactly was my age in 1990 when she left Kashmir with three suitcases – one with my and my sisters’ books, others had some clothes.

“I can’t even narrate what all we faced. The humiliation, bathing under public taps, no daris, no blankets, standing all day for tomatoes, but we never lost hope,” he said.

Pandita, the author of the book on the exodus “Our Moon Has Blood Clots”, said the legacy of education was the “biggest weapon” they always held on to.

“We never left that. When I go back to Kashmir, I feel a spring of Kashmiri language erupts into me. Many times I wonder if I even know this language, how am I able to summon these words?” he added.

Joshi, Chopra’s frequent collaborator, said the film has been under production for 11 years but the director wanted to make “Shikara” since 1994.

“I have seen his struggle for the past 25 years. When Rahul’s book came out, there was a belief that maybe we’ll be able to make this film after all. To do justice to something so monumental. I was fortunate to be attached to with this project.

“He has lived the reality shown in this film, his mother couldn’t go back to Kashmir and yet 25 years later, there’s not one moment when I’ve seen him hate any community or religion,” the writer said.

Featuring Aadil Khan and Sadia, the film is slated to be released on February 7.