Sun. May 29th, 2022
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The movie, a collaboration between a Kashmiri Muslim and a Pandit, tells the tale of a warm and common past shared by the communities and also their sufferings.

The movie, a collaboration between a Kashmiri Muslim and a Pandit, tells the tale of a warm and common past shared by the communities and also their sufferings.

Bitterness between Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits may have aggravated in the recent past. However, a Kashmiri Muslim filmmaker Danish Renzu and a Kashmiri Pandit writer-producer Sunayana Kachroo have collaborated on a 10-minute movie titled The Good News to heal the wounds of the embittered communities by looking at their common past and sufferings.

The Good News, starring Salonie Patel and Gauri Batra playing Hindu-Muslim friends, is scheduled to be premiered during the Tongues on Fire UK Asian Film Festival in London on Saturday. Speaking to The Hindu ahead of the release, film-maker Renzu, who had earned applause for earlier movies The Illegal and Half Widow , described The Good News as a project that was sparked by the killings of members of minorities by gunmen in 2021 in Kashmir.

Ruining Kashmiri Sufi culture


“I was in Srinagar in 2021 when there were attacks on minority members in September-October. It was inhumane … That is what led to this short film. It is based on true events. It’s aimed at bring the people together”

“I was in Srinagar in 2021 when there were attacks on minority members in September-October. It was inhumane. Whoever is responsible for the heinous acts are trying to create divisions and a rift in the Valley. That is what led to this short film. It is based on true events. It’s aimed at bring the people together,” Mr. Renzu, who belonged to Kashmir’s generation that never got to see Kashmiri Pandits living in their neighbourhood, said.

“How does one justify such brutal killings of innocent human lives on the basis of religion, or even as simply as on the basis of what they wear? It’s sheer death of humanity and unacceptable. The dividing forces in the Valley are trying to upend the peace and pure Sufi Kashmiri culture,” he added.

Hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits families left the Valley and migrated to different parts of the country in the face of the raging militancy and violence in the 1990s.

Mr. Renzu believes that the time has come to see the two communities living together again. “I was born in the times when the Pandits had already left. I have heard great things about how Muslims and Pandits would live together. And how Pandits left the Valley because of the violence against them. Today’s generation has an opportunity to not only touch upon these topics but also to respond and to bring people together. The Kashmir conflict has affected all the communities,” he said.

Element of hope

The 10-minute film, Mr. Renzu said, is not just talking about what is happening in the Valley but it also highlights the element of hope. “The division caused in the 1990s has impacted all aspects of Kashmir. Any place progresses with diversity as it plays an integral role in development. The divided communities have impacted J&K’s economy and its future. It’s my imperative to bring as a film-maker all different points of views and peoples’ plight and sacrifices,” he added.

The movie looks back at the common past and explores the Hindu-Muslim relation through a long-standing friendship. “It’s an attempt to look into the human condition and the narratives of ordinary people,” Mr. Renzu said.

For Kashmiri Pandit Kachroo, this film is a nostalgic trip into how two friends shared their smallest joys. “It’s tragic how terrorism impacted these smallest acts including love, humanity, and identity. As a co-producer, I am happy to bring this human story out,” she said.

It remains to be seen if The Good News, once released in India, will heal the wounds and revive the lost friendship between the communities.

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