Based on true events, ''Noor'' tells the story of a teenage girl from Britain trying to solve the mystery of her father''s disappearance in Kashmir.
An Oscar-nominated Indian filmmaker who is making a movie on Kashmir has sought the involvement of British-Kashmiris to make the film which will show "the human side of what’s going on" in the state.
Ashvin Kumar has launched a drive on online crowd funding platform Kickstarter to raise funds for ‘Noor’ -– which he describes as a "historic" project to correct the one-sided narrative on Kashmir.
"At heart it is a coming of age story of two teenagers, which is a good way to talk about Kashmir, with the lightness and optimism of youth. I want to make this film to show people the human side of what’s going on in Kashmir; to change the narrative so that they can understand there is still hope," said Kumar during his recent visit to the UK.
Based on true events, ‘Noor’ tells the story of a teenage girl from Britain trying to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance in Kashmir.
Kumar has been holding auditions across the UK for the 16-year-old lead character of a British Kashmiri for his film.
The Kickstarter campaign offers people in the UK, especially those with ties to Kashmir, to get involved with as little as 5 pounds or as much as 5,000 pounds.
Each contribution comes with an opportunity to be actively involved in the project, by being offered free tickets to screenings or even a role in the film.
"I am reaching out to the community to come together and make this movie together. It will appeal not only to anyone who loves Kashmir but those of us who love the idea of liberty and freedom," says the 42-year-old filmmaker.
The target is to raise around 74,000 pounds of an estimated budget of 400,000 pounds for the film.
The fundraising drive coincides with a tour of the UK, including cities like London, Bradford, Manchester and Birmingham, to hold screenings of his documentary on Kashmir titled ‘Inshallah, Football’, which was banned in India but later went on to win the National Film Award in 2012.
One of his earlier short films, ‘The Little Terrorist’, was nominated for an Oscar in 2005 in the Live Action Short Film category.
Kumar, the son of Indian fashion designer Ritu Kumar, has his roots in Kashmir and believes ‘Noor’ is an important film to be made.
"The conflict in Kashmir has claimed more than a 100,000 lives so far, of which 10,000 are ‘disappeared’ people – civilians whose disappearance cannot be explained. Recently, mass graves have been discovered.
These may contain the remains of some of the ‘disappeared’. Their existence is deeply troubling in a modern democracy. But the blow is hardest for the survivors, particularly women and children," he says.
Following the fundraising drive, the film will be shot across locations in Britain and Kashmir later this year.