The special premiere of Lamhaa in Srinagar was cancelled recently on security grounds and the film, despite being shot in Kashmir, did not open in the state. But Onir, whose I Am Megha from the I Am… series was also filmed in the Valley, is optimistic about going back to Srinagar with his film that several Kashmiris have invested in, both financially and emotionally.
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The story that showcases the plight of Kashmir pandits, who had to leave their homes in the middle of the night and restart their lives elsewhere, features Juhi Chawla and Manisha Koirala. Onir recalls the huge crowds that needed around 50 army men to be controlled while shooting in Srinagar.
"During a recee, I was surprised that 18-year-olds there were completely in the dark about the tragedy that had befallen the Kashmiri pandits. They have grown up seeing their deserted homes and believing these people ran away as shown in the film," Onir sighs.
Meanwhile, his first script, Sabh, has been picked up by NFDC for the Scriptwriters Lab 2010. The first workshop will be held at the Locarno Film Festival between August 6 and 11. Written in 2003, it is the journey of a boy from Kashmir to Mumbai, where he joins an escort service and sells his body. Along the way, he meets a call girl and through her, re-examines himself.
Onir is reworking his script, making it more edgy and international. By October-November, he plans to start shooting with a young cast. He says, "I want two actors playing the same boy to underline the way he’s changed since coming to the city."