Kashmiri Pandits not beggars, we stood on our feet: Vidhu Vinod Chopra

Vidhu Vinod Chopra. File photo

Mumbai, January 30: Filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra has said the aim behind his upcoming movie ‘Shikara’, about the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir, is not to make anyone feel sorry for the community but to present how these people stood tall in the face of tragedy.

At the special 30-minute screening of the movie on Wednesday, the filmmaker said the film showcased how Kashmiri Pandits rebuilt their lives in the aftermath of the tragic event.

“All of our homes were snatched. It’s quite something that we stood strong on our feet…it took courage to tell this story. And tell it in such a way that people come to watch it. We didn’t want to make a film where two people watch and say ‘oh look, they were treated badly’.

“We wanted to make a film where you see what happened to us, and despite that we are standing tall, with hope in our lives, we are settled here. We aren’t beggars, we didn’t extend our hands in front of the government, we stood on our feet. It’s a big deal, not a small feat,” Chopra told reporters.

Chopra said the team had made sure that ‘Shikara’ is an entertaining film, but one which did not sell its soul to lure people into the theatres.

“It was tough to write this because I always thought I would write in a way where people go and watch it in theatres. Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman had said, ‘you shall entertain. You shall entertain without selling your soul’.

“This is very difficult, to make a film which people watch without selling your conscience. I’am proud that all of us here, my entire crew, didn’t sell our conscience. We have shown what has happened,” he added.

The filmmaker said he dedicated his movie to his mother who passed away in 2007.

“My mother came here for the premiere of ‘Parinda’ with one suitcase but could not return. She came for a week and couldn’t go to Kashmir for 10 years. When I was making ‘Mission Kashmir’, I took her along because I had security. It was then that she visited our house, which was by then ruined.

“I’ve made this film for my mother, and for all the mothers and people whose lives turned upside down in a month, in a day.” Featuring Aadil Khan and Sadia, ‘Shikara’ is slated to be released on February 7. PTI