The situation in Kashmir is a crisis of compassion: Ashvin Kumar
Soni Razdan and Ashvin Kumar speak about their new film No Fathers In Kashmir
Ashvin Kumar’s new film, No Fathers In Kashmir, released in theatres on April 5. Set in contemporary times, the film looks at themes of love, rebellion, oppression, and conflict through the story of two Kashmiri youngsters, Noor and Majid. Starring a formidable cast of Zara Webb, Soni Razdan, Shivam Raina, Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Anshuman Jha, No Fathers In Kashmir was engaged in a long battle with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) before being cleared for release.
Razdan, who plays the role of Noor’s grandmother in the film, encourages audiences to accept alternative perspectives to the conflict in Kashmir. “When we look at the media, we get only one side of the picture. It's not like that picture doesn't exist — militancy is certainly a huge problem. But there's also another side to it,” she says.
The veteran actor insists that the people of Kashmir deserve to get their stories heard. “We need to understand why a young man picks up a gun or becomes a militant. We cannot just go on blaming Pakistan. There's a long history to the insurgency that needs to be studied.”
Completed in mid-2018, No Fathers In Kashmir was denied a U/A certificate by the censor board. Ashvin, who contends that there was nothing objectionable in the film, applied to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) in November last year. Over the course of six hearings in eight months, No Fathers in Kashmir was awarded a U/A certificate on March 14 with reduced cuts.
Acknowledging the voluble social media outrage in support of the film, Ashvin says, “I am grateful to all the personalities, from Mahesh Bhatt to Shashi Tharoor, who came out in support of the film. Without them and the media we wouldn't have won this battle.”
The two time National Award-winning filmmaker — whose short film Little Terrorist (2004) was nominated for an Oscar and whose documentaries Inshallah, Kashmir (2012) and Inshallah Football (2014) were widely acclaimed — describes the situation in the valley as a “crisis of compassion.”
“Through our film, we want young people all over India to connect with the youth of Kashmir,” he says. “It's all about the euphoria and hopefulness of being young.”