FICCI holds session on shooting films in Kashmir

Mumbai, Mar 13 (KNS): A session to discuss film shoots in beautiful Jammu and Kashmir was held on day-II of the 20th edition of FICCI Frames. The session moderated by Atika Ahmed Farooqui, Creative Director, Colors Cineplex, had panelists like Javid Bakshi, Director SKICC, Dept. of Tourism, Government of J&K; Divya Dutta, Actress; Nitin Kakkar, Filmmaker; Feryna Wazheir, Actress and Siddharth Anand Kumar, Producer, Hamid.
The state of beautiful Jammu and Kashmir has been part of many films from the time films have been started getting made on a big canvas. Film lovers can never forget the beautiful backdrop when they talk about the romance in of Kashmir Ki Kali and from there on, there have been several films set in the beautiful landscape of so-called Heaven on Earth. But there were times when film shoots were stopped completely in Kashmir. Not only this, even the cinema halls were shut for a long period of time. Things are changing again as many films in recent past were being shot there and filmmakers continue to go to shoot in and around Kashmir.
Divya Dutta said that Kashmir has been part of her childhood because, being a Punjabi, the holidays were all about visiting Kashmir.
She said, “I shot for a film there with Gurdas Mann and more recently Gul Makai and had the best time shooting there with people being absolutely supportive and warm towards everyone.”
“I remember I met this seller of saffron who was going on pleading us to buy saffron and when he saw me little irritated he politely said, madam kya karein tourist kam ho gaye hain to zyada bolna padta hai (because tourists are lesser, we have to plead more for selling our stuff). I can never forget that incident now.” she added.
“I remember going on a holiday to Kashmir sometime back and it was very difficult to get hotels as everything was booked. Dal lake was full of people and we had to wait to get a ride of shikaras. If things are so nice in Kashmir, I would like to request people to show this positive side of the place and encourage people to visit Kashmir. The negative reporting scares people while the situation may not be as bad.” said Divya Dutta.
Mr Nitin Kakkar, who shot for Notebook in Kashmir, said “We have shot for 44 days in Kashmir and stayed there for around 60 days, but not once did we have to cancel our shoot because of threat or fear. We did cancel two days shoot because of weather but not for any other reasons.” He further spoke about how Switzerland was found to shoot films as an alternate to Kashmir when legendary Yash Chopra could not shoot in Kashmir and from there on Switzerland became a new destination for shoots.
Javid Bakshi spoke about how Kashmir is always referred to as a paradise. “There may be times when there is disturbance, but I hope more and more people start visiting Kashmir because if you haven’t, you are missing something surely.”
“Even in disturbed phases, we saw a lot of films. Every house hold used to be abreast with all the newly released films through pirated DVDs when the cinema halls were shut there.” said Javid Bakshi.
He further added “I was in Kashmir for a recce and one day I got a newspaper with a headline on front page saying, ‘curfew in Kashmir’. I was skeptical to go out and called my driver to cancel the recce. The driver was already waiting down and said sir, sab normal hai, aa jaaiye (everything is normal, please come). I went out and did my recce without any trouble. Later I got to know that the curfew was only at a very small place for just few hours, but such reporting actually creates and spreads fear.”
“This factor of reporting is not new. For economic reasons sometimes media reports negative things about a destination to promote another destination. That has happened even with destinations like Maldives and Egypt where suddenly there are reports of terror there in Egypt and people have figured other destinations to see pyramids. No one wants to visit a place with family when there is any element of doubt about the risk for his or her family members.” said Bakshi
Producer of film Hamid, Siddharth Anand Kumar spoke about how Kashmir plays a vital role in the script. “The film is a tale of empathy as thematic which is essential for human being especially in our troubled times. The message of the film is very relevant.”
Actress Feryna Wazheir who shot for Sadiyaan that was the first film to be shot in Kashmir after a long time when the shootings of films in Kashmir had stopped for many years concluded the spoke about how they shot at many locations in Kashmir and the local people there were warm and helpful to the whole cast and crew.
Producer of film Hamid, Siddharth Anand Kumar concluded the conversation speaking about his soon to be released film Hamid. “The film is a tale of empathy as thematic which is essential for human being especially in our troubled times. The message of the film is very relevant.” (KNS) 

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