Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Shikara which recreates the horrific exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from their homes in 1990, has raised the hackles of many from the community who feel betrayed by the soft stance Chopra has chosen to take in his film.
In a video that has gone viral, a Kasmiri Hindu woman, identified as Divya Razdan can be seen breaking down after the screening of Shikara, accusing the director on camera of commercializing the pain and anger of the Kashmiri Pandits who according to her, suffered unbearable pain .
“Ye aapka commercialism aapko mubarakh ho (to hell with your commercialism).As a KashmiriPandit, I disown your film, I disown it,” the woman is seen screaming at the filmmaker who responds feebly and unconvincingly.
If the truth be told, many Kashmiri Pandits feel Vinod Chopra has severely toned-down the genocide the community suffered in 30 years ago for the sake of a universally palatable cinematic narrative.
Members of the film fraternity who are closely attached to Kashmir and have been witness to the rise of militancy and bloodshed in the Valley secretly feel Vinod Chopra has sold out the community for the sake of a boxoffice success.
“He probably wanted to keep it nice clean and wholesome to ensure success. He hasn’t had a hit as a director for a very long time. His last directorial was Eklavya, and that came 13 years ago. I can understand his need to make a hit film. But the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits is not a subject open to such compromises. You can’t make a film about the Nazi holocaust and ask audiences to forgive Hitler.Some wounds are beyond healing. What happened to KashmiriHindus is one those pains that no amount of time passage can remedy. Vinod can forgive and move on. We can’t,” says a prominent member of the Kashmiri Pandit from Bollywood.
Filmmaker and the entertainment industry’s spokesperson Ashoke Pandit feels Vinod Chopra’s message of peace to be ill-placed. “Kashmiri Pandit filmmaker and industry spokesperson Ashoke Pandit says, “The genocide and ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus can never be forgotten by them. It’s one of the biggest human tragedies of the world. This tragedy cannot be compared to a fight between two friends.This shows the immaturity of a filmmaker while addressing such an important issue.We are hurt and the pain of being rootless still continues . I can understand the pressures of pseudo-liberals around him. The truth cannot be hidden.”