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Lamhaa about Identity crisis,statelessness

It concerns how stateless the locals feel and questions beliefs of people who are for and against peace there.

Written by Debesh Banerjee | New Delhi |
June 21, 2010 10:03:20 am

When National-Award winning filmmaker Rahul Dholakia decided to co-write the script for Lamhaa,he was looking out for cliches. He was determined that the film,which captures the angst of the Kashmiris,would look beyond the usual images of hardliners,grief and futility.

“People have made many films on how Kashmir has become a victim of terror but nobody does justice to the other issues concerning the people and their angst of living in a state of fear,” says Dholakia.

He has also directed Lamhaa,which took almost four years to complete. That shouldn’t be surprising,considering that his last film,Parzania (2005) (for which he received the National Award for Best Director) was five years in the making. “Dealing with sensitive matters takes time. One cannot make a superficial film that shies away from real issues,” he adds.

Lamhaa,which releases on July16,explores the issue of identity crisis in the locals in the valley. Starring Sanjay Dutt,as a gun-totting military intelligence officer,Bipasha Basu,a young Kashmiri girl from a family of hardliners,Anupam Kher as a passionate separatist leader,the film has also roped in Kunal Kapoor and Vipin Sharma.

In the film,a plot a to kill a separatist leader has gone awry. Dutt’s and Basu’s characters team up to investigate the reasons behind the failed assassination and uncover a murky underworld of deceit and a diabolic nexus between politicians and security groups.

“The main issue in the film concerns how stateless the locals feel. On a parallel level,I am also challenging the beliefs and ideologies of people who are for and against peace in the State,” explains Dholakia,who spent two months researching in the Valley in summer of 2007. During one outdoor shoot,a mob of angry locals surrounded the crew,objecting to certain depictions of Kashmir. “We had to expose the reel and re-shoot the scene to respect their feelings,” he remarks.

The seed of the film was planted when Dholakia interacted with few Kashmiri students at a film screening in Delhi. “The students referred to Kashmir as a beautiful prison and that got me thinking. I needed to investigate it for myself,” he recalls. The film-maker refuses to call himself a crusader; Kashmir,he adds,“was a story waiting to be told.”

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