Filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra on Wednesday held a special preview of his upcoming film Shikara in Mumbai. Shikara is based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley between January and March 1990.
Chopra, who is a Kashmiri Pandit, has made Shikara as a tribute to his mother, who could not return to her home in Kashmir.
He said, “Shikara is a tribute to my mother. My mother came here (Mumbai) for the premiere of Parinda with one suitcase and could not return to Kashmir. She came for a week and could not go to Kashmir for ten years. When I was making Mission Kashmir (2000), I took her along because I had security. It was then that she visited our house, which was by then ruined. I have made Shikara for my mother, and for all the people whose lives turned upside down.”
Vidhu Vinod Chopra further shared stories of how Kashmiri Pandits stayed strong and made a place for themselves. The director said, “All of our homes were snatched. It is 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, how bad things happened to them’.”
Chopra revealed he wanted to tell the story of Kashmiri Pandits without diluting it with anger and agenda. He said, “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 open our hands in front of the government. We stood on our feet. It is a big deal. It is not a small feat.”
“It was tough to write this because I always thought I will write in a way where people go and watch it in theaters. Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman had said, ‘You shall entertain. You shall entertain without selling your soul’. It 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,” Vidhu Vinod Chopra concluded.
With Shikara, Vidhu Vinod Chopra has returned to directing films after a long gap of eleven years. The film is scheduled to release on February 7.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines