The love for movies is stronger than the fear of bullets for people in Kashmir, said filmmaker Rahat Kazmi, whose feature film Side A Side B was screened at the 23rd Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) here on Monday. Set in Poonch in the 90s, the film tells the story of youths struggling to make a film in extreme situations. Before coming to KIFF, the film was screened at Cannes Film Festival. “Still there is no movie theatre in Kashmir. But people’s love for cinema is still there. It is stronger than the fear of bullets or any other forms of violence,” Kazmi said during an interaction with media persons.
The Kashmiri filmmaker said real stories are found in conflict zones and art form becomes one of the casualties of war. “When it comes to art, freedom of expression is a must and artists suffer a lot whenever troubles break out. It is everywhere in the world — be it Afghanistan or Iraq or any other country. This is true for Kashmir also. But I was surprised to see that films made by young Kashmiri students have been appreciated outside. But real stories are found in conflict zones,” he said. The filmmaker added, “Peace is the only solution to any problem in the world and cinema plays a big role in this regard. We have also tried to show that in our film.”
Side A Side B, which has been made in Hindi language, is under ‘Competition on Indian Language Film’ section at the 23rd KIFF. The movie was screened at Nandan 2 and reaction from the audience made it clear that it might be a strong contender for the best film award in the Indian language film competition. “It was a stunning film. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story of youths wanting to make a film in the times of insurgency has been told in a satirical manner. Everybody in the theatre was enjoying the film. It could be a strong contender to win the award at the festival,” said budding film editor Swarnava Chakraborty.
The movie will be next screened at International Film Festival of India 2017, Goa.