Kashmir Through Bollywood Prism

By Deepti D.

When I say the line…. “Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin asto”, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? To be honest, I don’t remember Amir Khusroo who wrote these lines which were later immortalized by Jahangir, but to me these lines take me to the beautiful paradise of India… Kashmir.

Kashmir has always been on my bucket list of places to visit. And yes, it’s strange that I still haven’t visited this heaven on earth. Have heard innumerable stories about its beauty and how the Dal Lake, the beautiful gardens of Shalimar and Nishat, the snow-capped mountains of Gulmarg, the greenery of Pahalgam and of course the patriotic tales of Kargil have mesmerized everyone who has gone there.

Apart from common people like us, Bollywood is also quite fascinated by Kashmir and its beauty. Right from movies like Kashmir ki kali to the recent Bajrangi Bhaijaan, all have soaked the beauty of Kashmir to the fullest. Who can forget Amitabh Bachchan singing ‘Kabhie Kabhie mere dil mein’ to Raakhee under a pine tree or for that matter Anushka Sharma jumping to ‘Jiya jiya re jiya’ from Jab Tak hain Jaan.

But every coin has 2 sides and so does this story too… As much as we can praise Kashmir on its beauty and serenity, we cannot deny the fact that it also has a dark side… a side of violence, terrorism and of course unrest. A common man is not only the one who gets affected by these evil virtues, but in a way Bollywood has been affected too. If Bollywood shows us the rosy romances in the valleys of this beautiful land where heroines are dancing in chiffon sarees in the snow, it also shows us the stark dark reality of unrest and terrorism.  

1990.. the time terrorism first hit the beautiful paradise and everyone was stunned and shattered. People were not able to accept the fact that Kashmir could be the target, but in heart of heart they knew it was an inevitable thing…after all it had been a point of confrontation between India and its ‘friendly’ neighbour since 1947. People took time to come back to normalcy and started enjoying life again, when in 1992 a movie called ‘ROJA’ came which brought back memories. Starring Arvind Swamy as a scientist who gets kidnapped on a mission to Kashmir and how his wife played by Madhoo leaves no stone unturned to save him. The confrontation between him and terrorists was the high point of the movie and especially the scene where Mr Swamy jumps on the burning national flag to protect it. Seeing this patriotism… it definitely gave me Goosebumps… didn’t it?

In between, we had the 1999 Kargil war and it was the revisit of the 1971 war. Many of our soliders laid their lives for their motherland and this inspired our Bollywood makers a lot and hence came movies like LOC Kargil and Lakshya, both keeping the patriotic fever high.

And all this war didn’t stop the makers from making another movie on the Kashmir issue and in 2000, came ‘MISSION KASHMIR’. Starring actors like Sanjay Dutt and Hrithik Roshan, this movie dealt with the life and tragedy of a young boy named Altaaf after his entire family is accidentally killed by police officers. He is adopted by the police chief who is responsible for this, and when Altaaf finds out, he seeks revenge and becomes a terrorist. The film also deals with terrorism and the tragedy of children suffering from war. Although the backdrop was Kashmir and how young children are instigated into the big bad world of terrorism, this movie had soothing music which shows how everyone wants a peaceful Kashmir… “socho ki jheelo ka shaehr ho” …

In 2010, came a not so famous movie called ‘LAMHAA. Set in Kashmir, it is a story about an army officer, played by Sanjay Dutt, and his love interest, played by Bipasha Basu, in the midst of the issues that Kashmir had faced over the years. This movie came into highlight because of the fact that during the shooting, Kashmir was at its worst phase and eventually, the shooting had to be abandoned and the Kashmir scenes had to shot in Film City, Mumbai. Talk about height of unrest!!

When we are talking about the unrest and all, how can we not write about the critically acclaimed 2014 movie ‘HAIDER”. Starring seasoned actors like Shahid, Tabu, Irrfan Khan, the film is a modern-day adaptation of William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet and Curfewed Night of Basharat Peer set amidst the insurgency-hit Kashmir conflicts of 1995 and civilian disappearances. Haider, a young student and a poet, returns to Kashmir at the peak of the conflict to seek answers about his father’s disappearance and ends up being tugged into the politics of the state. Superb acting by all the actors, led to this film receiving critical acclaim worldwide. It showed the true reality of Kashmir and hit the right nerve. It was too real to be believed.

Whatever said and showed, one thing is for sure that these kind of movies which show the realism and the situation of the people there, not only makes one empathise with them but on the other hand it makes us more patriotic and confident of the fact that Kashmir was, is and would always be a part of our motherland India. We all strive for that Kashmir where small children are not instigated at pelting stones or becoming terrorists. We want that Kashmir where we can proudly say again that ‘If there is heaven on Earth, it is here… it is here. it is here…’ Inshaallah!!

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