“Everyone who ignored the plight of Kashmiri Pandits must use the Internet to say ‘sorry’,” said Vidhu Vinod Chopra at a special screening of Shikara, organised for the Kashmiri Pandits who were forced to leave their homes exactly 30 years ago on night of 19 January 1990. Commenting on the process behind his film Shikara – based on events that took place during the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits – he added, “All Muslims in Kashmir have only helped us to make this film possible.”
Apart from drawing from the events of the 1990 exodus, Shikara also includes actual footage from that time. Chopra who has directed and produced the film was quite moved as he spoke from his personal experience.
He said, “A lot of Muslims in Kashmir, knowing fully well that is film is about the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, stood with us and helped us to make this film. They’re not here with us, but I want to thank them for their support.”
At the screening, Chopra asserted how Muslims in Kashmir had helped the crew to make the film and he expressed hope that “it will be like that always.”
Talking about the possibility of his return to Kashmir, Chopra said, “I will go back there, and will live there the way we used to, that’s what I hope and pray for.”
'People From Delhi May Not Realise What Leaving a House Overnight Feels Like'
Chopra expressed his grievance over no help being provided to the Kashmiri Pandits for years. He said, “For over 30 years, nothing was done for the Kashmiri Pandits. Several governments came and went. The media as well – what did you guys do? The people sitting here from Delhi may not realise what it felt like to have left your house overnight.”
He said Kashmiri Pandits need an apology for the ignorance that they have faced over the years.
“For 30 years no one has heard us. I want everyone who knowingly or unknowingly ignored the plight of the Kashmiris, please use the Internet to say ‘Sorry Kashmiri pandits’. Sorry, that we did not do anything for you. Sorry, to all of you who are still living in refugee camps, thirty years after the exodus. All the kids who are here (referring to members of the film) have no idea what Kashmir is like. So, let them say sorry.”
Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Shikara is all set to release on 7 February 2020.
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