The School of Arts and Aesthetics and the Centre for English Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) recently hosted a festival of films ‘Kashmir before Our Eyes’.
An array of films depicting the problems of Kashmiris and highlighting key issues that have been left unaddressed for years were screened at the festival.
Inaugurated by Professor Sudha Pai, Rector, JNU, the festival was opened by Before My Eyes by Mani Kaul.
On the same day NVK Murthy’s Diary of an Aggression and Zul Vellani’s Aatish-e-Chinar highlighted how Kashmir became an issue of nationalist discourse. On the other hand 23 Winters by Rajesh S Jala, The Last Day by Siddhartha Gigoo and Ajay Raina’s Tell Them, The Tree They Had Planted Has Now Grown, showcased the exile and displacement of Kashmiri Pandits. The first day ended with the National Award-winning film Harud by Aamir Bashir.
The second day started with a controversial film Jashn-e-Azadi by Sanjay Kak, expressing the longing of freedom among Kashmiris from military rule. “In the last few decades Kashmir is a controversy is in itself. So the films that highlight the apathy of people also becomes a controversy,” says Ajay Raina, on behalf of Sanjay Kak, who was not present at the festival.
As conflicts always have a tragic impact on a woman, Waiting by Atul and Shabnam Ara, Where Have You Hidden My Crescent Moon by Iffat Fatima, Autumn’s Final Country by Sonia Jabbar, Rizwan by Deepti Khurana and Ashwin Kumar’s national award-winning film Inshallah Kashmir, presented the story of women who are striving hard to live their lives in Kashmir.
Focussing on what defines Kashmiriyat, Pankaj Rishi Kumar’s Pather Chujaeri (The Play Is On) focusing on the death of art and culture through the plight of the Bhand artists and MK Raina’s Mann Faquiri were also screened on the third and the last day of the festival. Discussing the issue of marginalisation in the state were films like Floating Lamp In a Shadow Valley by Rajesh S Jala and Apour Ti Yapour, Na Jang Na Aman, Yeti Chu Talukpeth. The closing film of the festival was Valley of Saints by Musa Sayeed.