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‘Kashmir problem is complex’

"The youth of Kashmir wants to put the madness behind it.” Kunal Kapoor shares his experience of shooting Lamhaa in the valley.

entertainment Updated: Jul 12, 2010 17:15 IST
Nikhil Taneja
Nikhil Taneja
Hindustan Times

The Kashmir premiere of Rahul Dholakia’s upcoming film on the state’s conflict, Lamhaa, was recently cancelled because of the crisis in the state at the moment. But Kunal Kapoor, is still hopeful.

"We would love to premiere Lamhaa in Kashmir when the situation settles down," he says. "The film is about Kashmir. It’s disappointing that the premiere there got cancelled."

Kunal Kapoor LamhaaDifferent roles

Kapoor, whose role in Rang De Basanti (RDB), in 2006, brought him critical acclaim, is back in the role of a passionate youngster in crisis in Lamhaa. "But the contexts are different," Kapoor emphasises. "While Aslam of RDB wasn’t sure about what he was doing, Lamhaa’s Aatif is a terrorist-turned-politician who has gone through a lot in life, and is on a mission now. He is the voice of young Kashmir, and his passion borders on madness."

To prepare for his character, Kapoor read up about youth politics in Kashmir, even met people who used to be terrorists once. “When you meet such people, you stop taking your own freedom for granted,” Kapoor reflects. “You realise how important the predictability of your life is.” “The Kashmir problem is far too complex to sit here and imagine. For Aatif, freedom means freedom of speech and freedom from security and repression, and not just independence. The youth of Kashmir wants to put the madness behind it.”

Playing safe
Though the situation in Kashmir wasn’t entirely safe when Kapoor signed on the film — and many actors were wary of being a part of the film — he says that the film’s script and director Dholakia cajoled him. “It’s refreshing to come across a director who has a point of view and isn’t afraid to express it,” he says. “Rahul researched for months in Kashmir. And he is the sort of person who would want to shoot in the most dangerous places.”

“The army had given us a list of places we should avoid shooting at – and we shot guerrilla style in those very places! There were moments of anxiety during the film’s shoot but it was well worth it.”

First Published: Jul 09, 2010 13:30 IST