The first film club in conflict-hit Jammu and Kashmir is purely a student initiative.
The club established in April 2006 is the brainchild of a group of Jammu University (JU) students. The group formed the film club 'Kaleidoscope' and started screening socially relevant movies like Hazaron Khawishain Aaisi and Daur on the campus.
A third semester student of department of English at Jammu University Aaliya Bukhari who is the organising secretary of the club told Hindustan Times that the initiative was taken to 'change' the society.
"Students are always involved in more constructive things. They easily connect with movies. So we decided to form the club. We choose to screen socially relevant movies, which have a message for masses, are pragmatic and relevant," she said.
Referring to the recent Bollywood blockbuster Rang De Basanti, which has been nominated for the Oscar awards, Aaliya said that these movies create revolutions. "It stirred off a reservation campaign throughout India," she added.
The film club screened Hazaron Khawaishain Aasi in April and Daur in December and received a huge response of the students and the civil society members and the university teachers.
Hazaron Khawaishain Aasi, a movie by Sudhir Mishra of the Chameli fame, delves into student politics and student idealism and Daur is a gender specific movie, which talks of how Indian women can change the scenario.
'Kaleidoscope' is entirely student financed. "We don't want social hegemony. The only person apart from students we approach for advice is Prof Rekha Choudhary," she said.
Choudhary teaches Political Science at JU. The film club came into being with four core members, the Jammu University Research Scholars Executive Association (JURSEA) president Sandeep Singh Sandy, Aaliya Bukhari, Karan Mani and Nitin.
Later Mani left JU to get admission in Political Science department at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) New Delhi and Nitin joined the Big 92.7 FM radio of the Adlab Films Limited as producer.
Sandy the film club coordinator said more than 40 students had already joined the club.
"It is difficult getting the projectors from the different departments of the University. The students purchased the DVDs and CDs from their own money. Establishing the film club here is a big thing," he added.
'Kaleidoscope' aims at screening one movie every month on the campus. After the movie is screened the students review it in a 15 to 20 minute discussion and try to arrive at some conclusion about the message of the movie.
JU has a large number of student organisations having affiliations to almost all the mainstream political parties in the state, who use student activism for pushing their own agendas. 'Kaleidoscope' seems to be an exception.