Much has been said about this movie. I am not going to repeat that. As is popularly said these days, I would like to draw your attention to the chronology of events so that we can have an overview of a broader landscape.

Here is an old post by the writer of Shikara. Shikara, which is ostensibly meant to be our story – the story of Kashmiri Hindus.

Click the above link to see the post by Shikara writer

Do you see the romanticisation of the murderer terrorist from Kashmir? Are you perplexed?

Here is more.

Take a look at some snippets from the same writer’s book on Bastar. Carefully observe Arundhati Roy being acknowledged and Kobad Ghandy endorsing it. Did it surprise you?

Now look at this endorsement of the writer’s book which is supposedly the inspiration for Shikara.

Have you read the book? If yes, did you know the following interesting facts?

Ramchandra “What is your good name, Sir” Guha is proudly exclaiming his commissioned project and he is duly acknowledged in the book.

Who else is acknowledged? Hartosh Bal.

I don’t need to tell you about this man or his preposterous public utterances or his stand on various issues concerning the nation.

If you claim to have read the book, did you wonder about the vilification of Sangh in the book when any Kashmiri Hindu can vouch for their support to us when we were in need.

If you claim to have read the book, did you not find it odd that a memoir about events of 1990 would invoke an event of 2002, without mentioning the real cause, namely the burning of innocents in Godhra?

Do these insights not make for an important observation, namely, that while it might be an individual’s story, it is NOT a community’s lived reality.

We need to understand and reiterate the same.

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With this background, do you not get a feeling that the book is a ‘project’ by the Left to control or hold both ends of the Kashmir narrative, both Muslim and Hindu?

A project fulfilled through Messrs Peer and Pandita.

I have had this feeling since 2014, from the time I read the book again- line by line, between the lines – while researching the incidents of 1990 for an article.

I urge you to read, comprehend, analyse and validate this on your own too.

What I am trying to bring to your kind attention is that even if the movie had been faithful to this book in its entirety, it would still have whitewashed what Hindus faced in Kashmir.

Some of you might be aware of the fact that the movie has been in the making, for some time. It was announced as a Love Story. Please check the earlier PR pieces around it to ascertain it for yourself.

I am up to my eyes in my own course work, with loads of reading to do and submissions to deliver. But I feel compelled to pen this post, especially, after yesterday’s public calling out of the makers of Shikara by a brave young woman, Ms. Divya Razdan, which has been reverberating online ever since.

Looks like the moviemakers, inspired by the fact that the horrors faced by Kashmiri Hindus in Kashmir at the hands of Islamist radicals are being voiced and made a note of, conveniently changed the positioning of the movie prior to its release.

Nothing unusual about it, one would say! Any content producer would try to use topical issues for tactical marketing of their product. Ms. Deepika Padukone’s recent JNU appearance is a case in point.

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However, the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus, the aboriginal natives of Kashmir, is not an issue that a genuine,sensitive human being would trifle with, and that too in such a brazen manner.

By including a tagline, which has NOW been replaced,they claimed it to be something that they knew it’s never meant to be.

They raised the expectations of a beleaguered community that has been denied justice, even in the highest court of the land; a community that has seen no action from the state to document their travesty, and they failed to deliver.

It is the right of the the content producers to make money. Nobody can fault them on that.

What is being, and should be, faulted is the grossly inhuman, callous scratching of unhealed wounds of a community awaiting justice for 30 yrs.

If Shikara had been presented and promoted as a love story against the backdrop of Kashmir,would we be so invested in it?

NO!

That they wilfully misguided people and then nonchalantly changed their tagline, and dismissed the heartfelt, protest of a courageous young lady as “chai ka zaika”, shows what sort of people they are.

I have refrained from any public comments on the movie, from the first day itself, even as I kept sharing my reservations with those who wield influence.

I never intended to watch the movie and I never will. And yes, it will make no difference to the moviemakers. But the inhuman conduct of the moviemakers is for everyone to see and denounce. And denounce we must.

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I was disinclined to watch the movie, for, the trailers had made me throw up in disgust. Am enumerating few reasons for the same below.

  1. The choice of stars was insensitive to say the least. Did the moviemakers expect us to go gaga about his lead actress wearing a dejhor?
  2. WHY do we have to tell any Haji Sahib that we will go back?
  3. KPHs might call their Home many things, but Shikara, I seriously doubt.
  4. While the makers chose who they chose as lead stars, they were callous to make the real victims re-enact the scene of their tragedy.
  5. What’s WORSE was to see VVC “directing” the scene, little realising the subtle messaging.

IS OUR PAIN AN ACT? How insensitive can you be to use that to promote your movie?

I was really hoping to be proven wrong. I fervently wished all my reservations to be invalidated once the movie released.

But it was not to be! It was clear what was on the cards, right from the promotions stage.

I wish sanity prevails and people realise that abusing persecuted people in this manner is inhuman, unethical, callous and repulsive.

It is nothing less than a paap kritya.

Am hopeful that the time for our lived reality to be known has come.

May Bhagwan guide and bless those who are honest about this endeavour.

This opinion piece was first published on the Author’s personal blog and is reproduced here with her due permission.

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Dimple Kaul

Dimple Kaul is a Learner, Writer and Life Enthusiast who writes on various issues across genres. She has always believed writing to be her soul calling.