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Time to get real on reel

RANA SIDDIQUI

Shoojit Sircar's directorial debut "Yahaan" is about real issues in Kashmir.



FILM FOR A CAUSE Shoojit Sircar attempts to draw people's attention towards real problems of Kashmir through "Yahaan"

This is not yet another film on Kashmir. It does not highlight gun-toting terrorists, those pretty green gardens, the breathtaking Dal Lake, houseboats and chinar trees.

It digs deep into the "real problems" of food, shelter and economics of the local people living in areas beyond the Dal Lake.

The places that were never shown in films claiming to be on Kashmir and its problems, joys and sorrows. And these are the places where displaced and frightened Kashmiris actually live.

Actual locations

Places like Habba Kadal Bridge, Khane Yar Chowk, Tankipura, Maqdoom Sahab shrine or Lal Chowk are barely 10 kilometres away from the main tourist destination in Kashmir, the Dal Lake.

The adman Shoojit Sircar has shot his film Yahaan in 48 days in these areas perpetually under the threat of terrorist activities. Yahaan is a love story between a girl Adaa played by debutante Minissha Lamba and an army officer Aman, played by Jimmy Shergil, against the backdrop of the everyday problems in these areas.

"Nobody is allowed to enter these areas. So we went there as undercover journalists. We shot in typical guerrilla style," reveals Shoojit.

This film was entered in the Indian competition section at the Osian's Cinefan Film Festival and was shown this Thursday.

"The love affair between an army officer and a local girl in these areas is unthinkable because they consider army personnel as the problem creators. The people are fed up with the living conditions there. They don't have food, shelter and means of income. They want peace. I have tried to draw people's attention towards these problems by weaving it into a love story," says Sircar.

The thought of risking his and crew members' life for such a film now sends shivers down his spine. "We could have been killed any time. These are the areas where bomb dropping is routine. But we were adamant to complete the film. For all of us, it became more of a mission than merely a film," he concludes.

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