Shikara is a story of loss. It’s not a hate story, writes Vidhu Vinod Chopra – analysis
On Friday, I entered a packed theater for one of the first screenings of my last film, Shikara. Three hundred people, most of them cashmere panditas, stood up and applauded. But a woman in the back shouted that the film was not representative of her pain. She wanted more. They accused me of marketing the tragedy of a community that was exiled 30 years ago.
I have spent many days thinking about what he said. And I realize that what she wanted was more hate. She wanted a movie that demonized Muslims, and that sowed even more animosity and bloodshed. In fact, one of his problems with the movie was that Muslim actors were playing Pandit characters.
After a week of raucous accusations, controversy and introspection about what I could have done differently, I have concluded that I am not that narrator. I will never sell hate for profit.
I started working on Shikara 11 years ago in 2008. This movie was made as a tribute to my mother. She came to Mumbai from Srinagar for a week to attend the premiere of Parinda And I could never come back. He briefly accompanied me to Kashmir during the filming of Mission Kashmir in 1999. He visited his house that had been ransacked by the militants. Everything is gone. Despite seeing her house ransacked, she kept saying that one day it would be fine. He hugged the neighbors and left with the hope that someday he could return. She died in exile in 2007.
I am my mother’s son, and when I was making this movie, the predominant thought in my mind was that my film should not incite violence. My ambition was to represent reality completely, but without causing the viewer to feel vindictive.
Then, in the sequence of January 19, 1990, the militants who come to burn the gang houses are in the shade. I did this on purpose because I believe that violence has no face.
I was hoping to start a conversation with Shikara And I’m glad to say that this has happened. I have received countless messages and emails from Kashmiri Pandits thanking me for bringing his story to the world. I feel fulfilled
As for those who hate, I only have something to say, as Munna put it so beautifully Lage Raho Munnabhai – Get well soon!
Vidhu Vinod Chopra is a film director, screenwriter and producer. His films include Parinda, 1942: A Love Story, the Munna Bhai series, and more recently, Shikara.
The opinions expressed are personal.