Vivek Agnihotri’s Film Makes You Face Harsh Truths, Ask Uncomfortable Questions
I am no movie expert and hence, I shall not attempt entering the arena of commenting on camera angles, lighting, sound designing, casting or how long or short the movie should have been.
My perspective is that of an occasional movie goer who once in a while decides to watch a movie hoping not to be disappointed with assaults to the senses with candy floss picturisation, unreal exaggerated subjects and superficial treatments. This movie bags the scores against all the right criterions- the subject is important, the facts presented are well researched and there is exhibition of much maturity along with sincere efforts. It rather stands out with convincing, well-articulated arguments conveying what the film intended to convey to the audience in the first place.
From the very first scene one feels like being a part of the story. It appears as if you are witnessing it in real life, as if you are a character experiencing everything happening in front of you.
The facts as they come across on screen are a jolt to the senses. They challenge the deep rooted belief system of looking at everything around us from the perspective of civility, acceptance, tolerance & inclusiveness that majority of us Indians believe in and live by at the cost of truth sometimes.
The film brings you face to face with uncomfortable incidents and compels you to find out more about the dreadful period and events leading to what eventually happened in Kashmir in 1990. The more you find out about it, the more it upsets you. A thousand thoughts, tens of hundreds of emotions get triggered. It makes you wonder how this whole thing has been presented to the public in a very different narrative for the longest time. Why, even after 30 years, are we yet to conclusively and firmly accept and see the truth for what it is?
I think the guilty are not just those who were running the governments in state and centre, but equally guilty are those who had the voice and the responsibility to speak out without fear or favour – these included people in the media, the artists, the intellectuals, the academicians, the administration. Were they also as gullible as the common citizen to have believed in the carefully crafted narrative of Kashmir being the story of oppressed local Muslim population taking up arms against the Kashmiri Pandit Oppressors? Are they not as much guilty as the perpetrators of this crime on humanity? Are they not answerable to the citizens of the nation for having worked to make this whole saga as nothing more than a footnote of history?
“Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.” ― Amelia Earhart
The story of Kashmir needs to be told, it needs to be confronted, we need to come to terms with; not to relive the horror, not to instill insecurity or hatred, but to make sure that such an episode is never repeated again. We cannot have peace by turning eyes away from uncomfortable truth and lacking the courage to face it, peace cannot be practiced by denying the fact that it was a fanatic Islamic terrorism/uprising which was also not resisted by the majority population of Kashmir. This genocide and ensuing exodus should be remembered as a blot on civility, on humanity and that something similar does not ever again happen should be a collective pursuit of the people of this country who must realise that peace is not something that is served on platter but is something that has to be worked upon.
My salute to the filmmaker not just for his choice of the subject, but equally also for having the courage to go against the flow and presenting a version of events that compel you to look deeper into the subject and history. You must watch the movie only If you are ready to face the harsh truths and ask yourself the uncomfortable questions.
(Author is national convener for UDAAN- an organization working in the field of art and culture)
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