Divided by border, united by cinema | punjab$amritsar | Hindustan Times
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Divided by border, united by cinema

Unfazed by the flurry of failures that have consistently hit the Indo-Pak ties, filmmakers from both countries will use cinema as a major connect to revive the lost camaraderie.

punjab Updated: Mar 16, 2016 11:07 IST
Usmeet Kaur
Indian and Pak film makers during ' peace initiative zeal for unity' program held at Sarhad restaurant , Attari.
Indian and Pak film makers during ' peace initiative zeal for unity' program held at Sarhad restaurant , Attari.(Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo )

Unfazed by the flurry of failures that have consistently hit the Indo-Pak ties, filmmakers from both countries will use cinema as a major connect to revive the lost camaraderie.

In a first-of-its-kind effort, filmmakers from both countries have made 12 short feature films that will release this year on Independence Day of the two countries.

A Pakistani delegation of filmmakers that arrived at Attari on Tuesday and was received by their Indian counterparts stressed that cinema could play a pivotal role in bringing people closer. Indian filmmakers said it is unfortunate that Indians are deprived of seeing Pakistani films, and neither are the filmmakers allowed to go across the border to work. They said politicians from both countries had failed and now it is cinema and culture that could be a great unifier.

Reaching Sarhad, a restaurant near the border, the Pakistani and Indian filmmakers, who are in Amritsar to attend the 12th edition of SAANJH, the Amritsar-Lahore peace festival, talked about the peace initiative ‘Zeal for Unity’ that has brought them together for an interactive session and cultural dialogue.

The Indian filmmakers included Ketan Mehta, Aparna Sen, Nikkhil Advani, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Tanuja Chandra and Bejoy Nambiar. Khalid Ahmed, Meenu Farjad, Mehreen Jabbar, Sabiha Sumar, Shahbaz Sumar and Siraj ul Haque represented Pakistan.

Advani said, “Indians do not have access to Pakistani films; neither are Pakistani directors allowed to work in India. These boundaries must break. I feel the Indian government must allow the release of Pakistani films in India.”

Dhulia said, “The mistakes committed by our bureaucrats in the past should not be repeated. I feel my 50-minute-long film will be an apology to whatever has happened between the two countries in the past. It is high time both countries take cinema to a different level. Pakistani actors, filmmakers and aspirants must be allowed into India to flourish and vice-versa.”

Aparna Sen said, “We must not depend on political measures; it has to be a cohesive effort of civil society to bring the countries close. Cinema is a non-political platform and can establish a great sense of trust and bonhomie between people. Border lines must not be a restriction for artistes.”

Pakistani filmmaker Siraj-ul-Haque said, “Stories depicted through films give positive vibes whereas the news is negative. So a lot of thrust must be given to promotion of cinema at both places. Today, I don’t find any difference standing in India and feel I am a filmmaker because I have always been motivated by films in India.”

Ketan Mehta said cinema is a global medium, so India and Pakistan should embrace each other with its help.