Half Widow,a film by Danish Renzu addresses the trauma of the marginalised section of women in Kashmir, whose husbands have gone missing or as they would say have been taken away from them.
Set in Kashmir, the film focuses on the plight of these Kashmiri half widows and the place’s beauty becomes an incidental element.
According to the director, the film is about the “the plight of a woman who lost her husband, her journey as a half-widow not knowing whether he was dead or alive”.
“The film is also about her survival and her empowerment,” Renzu said. He has also co-produced the film with Gaya Bhola. “It is a hard look at the harrowing and emotional trauma of half widows in Kashmir”.
Neelofar Hamid, who was lead in the Sundance Award-winning film Valley of Saints, plays the role of the protagonist in Half Widow.
The film begins with Neela (Neelofar Hamid) penning her thoughts, as she writes that every age has its own dream. With this we step back in time and into her world. Neela is an orphan and she and her younger brother Zakir (Shahnawaz Bhat) have been brought up by their loving Khala (Haseena Sofi). When she’s of marriageable age, like any other young woman, Neela dreams of a happy married life.
She even finds a loving husband in Khalid (Mir Sarwar), who is an artisan by profession and runs a small business of making paper mache handicrafts. However, one fateful night her life takes a drastic turn when Khalid gets picked up from their home for interrogation by the paramilitary forces. A violent fall during the arrest results in Neela having a miscarriage. As she overcomes her grief of having lost her unborn child, she sets out to search for her husband.