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Ready to watch: Videos of the lively, humorous Kashmir

It is a group of eight young men, unemployed and hailing from the Panzinara village, who have taken it upon themselves to shoot short videos of conversations that they enact.

india Updated: Jul 29, 2018 12:57 IST
Mir Ehsan
Mir Ehsan
Hindustan Times, Panzinara (Srinagar)
Kashmir,Jhelum river,Srinagar
Members of Kalkharab group shooting a video on the banks of Jhelum in Panzinara some 25-km from Srinagar(Waseem Andrabi/HT)

On the banks of the Jhelum river, 23km from Srinagar on the highway to Bandipore, a group of men are shooting a video that brings the voice of humour, a social message and a bit of fun out from the state.

Meet the Kashur Kalkharab (Kashmiri daredevils). It is a group of eight young men, unemployed and hailing from the Panzinara village, who have taken it upon themselves to shoot short videos of conversations that they enact. Their endeavour has given them a celebrity status in the valley within a short span of time — it has been eight months since they shot the first video in December.

“I had started the YouTube channel and the Facebook page, as I wanted to make short entertainment videos that carried a social message and reflected problems in our society,’’ says Yawar Ahmad, the brain behind this group.

The first video

“In Kashmir, we had only seen death and destruction. I wanted to see my people happy so they can forget their gloom,’’ says Ahmad, who has done his graduation from Amar Singh College, Srinagar.

The group shot their first video on an ordinary mobile, with a wooden stand and a small microphone. “Our first video was on a typical village shopkeeper and his conversation with customers. It became an instant hit and got more than half a million (5 lakh) views,’’ he says and adds that in the videos they use simple costumes and the language of the common man.

With the good response egging them on, the group has produced more than 40 videos. Society, politics and culture are their broad themes.

‘Ideas coming from people’

“Our biggest moment of satisfaction came, when people, especially the youth, started reacting on our videos. We feel happy when people write us and suggest themes and ideas,’’ says Showkat Ahmad Mir, a postgraduate in history, who is the main anchor of the group.

“It takes us a day to prepare a video. We sit in a room, discuss an idea and then shoot a video on a mobile. After editing on a laptop, we upload the stuff on social media, especially on our YouTube channel,’’ he says, adding that do not have a professional set-up. Mir performs like a one-man army in the group and is also a multilingual singer.

There is money coming in from social media platforms with the number of hits their videos are getting. “We plan to buy professional equipment ,’’ says Ahmad.

“This group of youth makes people smile. It’s a daredevil job, as their videos annoy powerful people. Their weapon is humour and they target social evils,’’ says Aquib Javeed, their neighbour.

“In Kashmir, people are starved for entertainment. These short videos fill that space,’’ said Aseem Bhat, the editor of a weekly newspaper.

First Published: Jul 29, 2018 12:51 IST