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No Fathers in Kashmir, Ashwin Kumar, Ashwin Kumar film, Kashmir film, No fathers in Kashmir film, Ashwin Kumar Kashmir film, Kashmir movie, Indian express, latest news A still from No Fathers in Kashmir, which releases on April 5.

It was in Gulmarg that I held the hand of a girl for the first time,” says Ashvin Kumar, tracing back his special relationship with Kashmir, which has often formed the core of his cinema. Kumar, who has earlier showcased different aspects of the Valley in Inshallah, Football (2010) and Inshallah, Kashmir (2012), returns to the Valley again, with No Fathers in Kashmir. This time he tells a coming-of-age story, told through the eyes of a teenaged girl, Noor, as she experiences the conflict and its consequences first-hand, on her first visit from England.

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“My grandfather, on my mothers side, is a Kashmiri. Throughout my childhood, we would go to Kashmir from Calcutta every year for holidays. Kashmir was this magical land, almost mythological. We would reach Amritsar from Calcutta and head to Srinagar in a Fiat in the late 70s and 80s, which would plunk up the hill,” says Kumar, 46. “Then in 1989, when the insurgency started, the visits stopped,” he says.

No Fathers in Kashmir, Ashwin Kumar, Ashwin Kumar film, Kashmir film, No fathers in Kashmir film, Ashwin Kumar Kashmir film, Kashmir movie, Indian express, latest news
No Fathers in Kashmir, Ashwin Kumar, Ashwin Kumar film, Kashmir film, No fathers in Kashmir film, Ashwin Kumar Kashmir film, Kashmir movie, Indian express, latest news Director Ashvin Kumar.

No Fathers in Kashmir is Kumars first feature film on the Valley, the previous two being documentaries. It stars Zara Webb, Shivam Raina, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Soni Razdan and Kumar himself in key roles. The story unfolds through Noor, as she visits her ageing grandparents, the parents of her absent father, and befriends Majid, a teenaged boy from the neighbourhood. All this while, she keeps uploading the photos on social media.

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“I have made two very angry films earlier but I also realised that those films were talking about the past, even though a lot of it is still continuing, it has become scarier. In 2009, when I made Inshallah, Football, the captions at the end of the film read, That if the issues of the generation are not addressed, and they decide to pick up arms, the consequences can be catastrophic. Its a matter of deep shame, that 10 years later we have Pulwama, by a 20-year-old, in his attempt to be a martyr,” says Kumar, an alumnus of The Doon School, who subsequently attended St Stephens College.

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While the film touches on many serious themes, like the half-widows of Kashmir, loss and fear, it still has a tone of wide-eyed wonder and innocence to it. Noor points her phone camera to a maggot-infested date, areas cordoned off with barbed wire, and army personnel doing the rounds around Dal Lake, with a sense of bewilderment and curiosity.

“This film, in particular, speaks to the millennials. They have had the luxury of choices, an upwardly mobile lifestyle, whereas the kids of Kashmir have seen war, humiliation and other violent horrors. We speak of opportunities available for the youth of the youngest country in the world, what about the Kashmiri youth? Here the internet is shut off at the drop of a hat, they are cut off from the rest of the world. There are no film halls, no outlets for them,” says Kumar, who has made seven films so far, including the Oscar-nominated short film Little Terrorist in 2005. “When you start understanding these things, you can perhaps understand why they pick up stones. Kashmir is a crisis of compassion.”

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