The boatmen on Kashmir’s Dal Lake don’t bother to switch on the lights at night. “It’s all just painfully still,” says filmmaker Sreejith Karnaver, 39.
Karnaver has been in the troubled border state for two months, as part of a nine-member team making a web series on what it’s like to live there in the present day. They’ve been asking people, what do you miss the most, what’s changed, and is there anything that hasn’t.
The series is called Live from Kashmir, and has streamed two of its 12 episodes so far.
Watch the teaser here
In the first, released on October 12, residents talked about how, amid state-imposed curfews and separatists’ shutdown calls, even Eid wasn’t a celebration this year.
“Everyone was holed up in their houses instead of coming out on the streets and embracing and wishing each other,” says filmmaker Sumit Verma.
The documentary series talks widely to millennials, under-30s who are restless and tried of the tension. “Most just want a normal life,” says Karnaver. “They want to be able to study and reclaim their lives. They feel that a whole lot of raw talent — particularly in fields like music and art — is being lost and hidden behind, as it were, closed doors.”
Watch Episode 1, aired on October 12
So much musical talent emerged in their two months there, in fact, that the team now plans to do a separate web series on Kashmiri youth music culture, focused on the emerging fusion music that combines traditional folksongs with contemporary instruments and hints of Sufism.
“What really stands out about the series is the simplicity. It’s just people talking about their land and how they have been affected by the unrest. Also, it’s a relief to see no propaganda being put across,” says Delhi-based lawyer Krishnan Nandakumar, 38, who is looking forward to more episodes.
Watch the sneak peek to Episode 2
What: Live from Kashmir, a web series
Where: On the Video Daddy YouTube channel