Enhancing the stereotype

Jab Tak Hain Jan does to Kashmir what earlier Bollywood film did

FILM REVIEW

MUHAMMAD KAMRAN SHAMSHAD

Just a couple of months back, newspapers were filled with the stories of Indian film industry’s uncrowned King, Shahrukh Khan being in the valley shooting for his film “Jab Tak Hai Jaan.” The kind of coverage mainstream Indian and Kashmiri media gave it, made it seem that the movie might have something different to offer about Kashmir. People wrote reams; spoke at lengths about his visit. People didn’t waive the opportunity of linking the return of Bollywood with the return of peace in the Valley. People didn’t hesitate to call his visit “an image-makeover effort.” Even people went to the extent of calling Bollywood as the best ambassador of Kashmir. And when SRK himself had said “the films reflect what is happening in the society only,” one would like to have a reality check. So I went to watch the movie with the high expectations, though deep down I knew, going by earlier Bollywood movies shot extensively in Kashmir, this movie won’t be any expectation. And my deep down fears came true right at the moment the movie started. The movie started with the protagonist, SRK entering the scene and diffusing the bomb. SRK, in the movie, is an Indian Army personnel who has successfully diffused over 100 bombs. On the one hand you perceive the return of Bollywood to the valley as the symbol of peace in Valley and on the other hand you show nothing happening in Kashmir but bombs. Why this contradiction?
Gullible people, and people with vested interest, say that through Bollywood movies, people around the globe will come to know Kashmir and will admire the mesmerizing beauty of Kashmir. But isn’t Kashmir already known as one of the beautiful places on the earth? And what can describe Kashmir better than the lines of one of the greatest poets, Amir Khushroo and repeated by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan “Agar Firdous Baroo e Zameen Ast, Hameen Ast O Hameen Ast O Hameen Ast.” 
When these film stars are here busy shooting, they come with nice statements, tweets and thus make naive Kashmiris forget the lines of Nitasha Kaul, “Burn your Bollywood movies. Come to Kashmir. Walk through our cities. The bridges. The ruins. The graves…” but when they watch the same movie they are disillusioned. They realize your statements are nothing but lip service. Since the said movie is partly shot in London and partly in Kashmir, it is important to note the two facets of the same protagonist. In London, the protagonist is a lover-boy, full of romance and can charm anyone with his enticing words and in the latter one he is a tough guy— who plays with death all the time. In the former place, he is a guy full of life and in the latter he is a guy “who cannot die.” While I was watching the movie I felt like actors in movie telling me mockingly “Hi Kashmir… We come there… We visit you… We are smitten by your beauty… by your love… by your hospitality… But sorry Kashmiris you have got no scope in our movies…” And yes, if you ask or raise a finger at the negative portrayal of Kashmir the reply would “Khamosh Kashmiri”

Lastupdate on : Sat, 17 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 17 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 18 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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