Vidhu Vinod Chopra‘s tribute to Kashmiri Pandits earns an endorsement from Titanic director James Cameron

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Vidhu Vinod Chopra‘s tribute to Kashmiri Pandits earns an endorsement from Titanic director James Cameron

  • Titanic and Avatar director James Cameron endorses Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Shikara.

  • Shikara is a ‘tribute’ to Kashmiri pandit’s forced to flee out of the Kashmir valley following insurgency.

  • Activists in Kashmir filed a plea in J&K HC for a stay on the movie
Titanic and Avatar director James Cameron endorsed Vidhu Vinod Chopra‘s upcoming Hindi film Shikara and called it ‘a masterpiece’. Chopra made sure that his comments are a part of the teaser that was released recently.
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This is not the first time that Hollywood greats have backed Chopra’s films. Oscar-winner Alfonso Cuaron had earlier endorsed Chopra’s Hollywood film, Broken Horses.

Shikara tells the story of the Kashmir valley insurgency in 1990 which forced over 400,000 Kashmiri pandits to flee. It marks the debut of two newcomers Sadia and Aadil Khan in the lead roles. Chopra is also known to have filmed a few of the scenes in a refugee camp.

Game of sentiments

Chopra’s choice of the movie is no coincidence. The producer who made movies like Three Idiots and 1947-a love story, is a Kashmiri Pandit himself. “It is a movement,” he said, claiming that the movie is very “personal” to him.

“My mother thought she would go back after two-three weeks or after a few months or next year, but she could not go back, and that smile slowly vanished," Chopra told PTI, reminiscing his personal experiences attached to the tragedy.
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He also claimed that the movie is a tribute to Kashmiri Pandits. “Nobody listened to us for 30 years. Our story was hidden for the past 30 years,” said Chopra at an event.

A plea filed in J&K HC

The movie however is courting controversy as expected. A petition has been filed in the J&K High Court against the movie, demanding a stay on the film’s release. The movie is expected to be released on 7 February 2019.

The petitioners alleged that Chopra’s film portrayed untrue facts about Kashmir and Kashmiri Pandits in the movie.

According to the activist Iftikhar Misgar, Majid Hyderi and Irfan Hafiz Lone, who filed the PIL, the movie does not segregate between the militants and the common Kashmiris, as local Kashmiris tried to convince the Pandits of Kashmir to stay on. The movie portrays that all Kashmiri Muslims are responsible for the extradition of the pandits from Kashmir, the activist says.

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Chopra was born and raised in Srinagar. He had directed similar movies on the topic like Mission Kashmir in 2000 starring Sanjay Dutt, Preity Zinta and Hritik Roshan. The movie revolved around the Kashmiri insurgency in the early ’90s.

This year might see many movies on the topic after the government altered the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir last year.

Vivek Agnihotri’s film called The Kashmir Files, which also discusses “ the unreported story” of the “wrenching genocide of Kashmiri Hindus” is due to be released in August this year.

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