In Kashmir, where cinema halls are either burnt down or turned into hospitals, four persons have come together to revive Kashmiri cinema by producing the first 35-mm film, 'Partav', which has to be released soon.
A dental surgeon by profession, director Dilnawaz Muntazir (35) and his three associates have their debut film's teasers and trailers out this week on Facebook and YouTube. "The idea is to revive Kashmiri cinema and through it the fast-dying Kashmiri language. This is the time to mark a new beginning of our cinema on national and international level," says Muntazir.
'Partav' was produced in the past three years, when the Valley went through tough times. "Because of budgetary constraints, we earlier decided to shoot the entire film in one room. But everyone pooled-in money and ideas to come up with an experimental musical film…our families, too, backed the project," said the director. Most cast members and producers are in their 30s and were brought up in the violent years of 1990s.
"The film showcases the journey of a professor with a single-minded track, where he abandons everything else other than his literary work," said Rayees Mohiuddin, an actor. The film was shot in the autumn season to induce seriousness and grimness to the film. The producers, however, are worried about screening of the film because the Valley has no cinema halls left. "We have decided to screen it at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre in Srinagar since there are no halls.
Then a screening is scheduled in New Delhi and the US," said Muntazir. Enthused to revive Kashmir cinema, the producers see hope for art, despite the conservative outlook towards cinema here. "We need to understand that cinema is like any other mediums, for example newspaper, Internet etc. Iran and Saudi Arabia, despite being Muslim countries, produce good films," said Muntazir.
'Partav' can mark a new beginning for Kashmiri cinema, which has produced just two commercially successful full feature movies 'Mianz Raat' (1964) and 'Habba Khatoon' (1970s). In 2006, 'Akh Daleel Lolich' became a first digital film produced after decades. Militant insurrection in 1990 struck a severe blow to cinema and cinema halls in Kashmir. Thirteen cinema-halls were closed down in early 1990s following a militant campaign.