Breaking stereotypes, one frame at a time

Tariq Bhat’s ‘Welcome to Kashmir’ to be cinematic revelation of real Kashmir
For too long, Bollywood movies have painted Kashmiri people as villains and perpetuated stereotypes.
For too long, Bollywood movies have painted Kashmiri people as villains and perpetuated stereotypes.Aman Farooq/ GK

Srinagar: Known for its unparalleled beauty, serene lakes, and snow-capped mountains, Kashmir has often been portrayed in a negative light in Bollywood movies, painting a skewed picture of its people and culture. Enter Tariq Bhat, a Kashmiri himself, who has taken up the mantle to present the real, positive image of Kashmir through his debut movie, ‘Welcome to Kashmir’.

In a world that often shrouds the truth, Bhat dares to reveal the raw and authentic image of the Kashmiri people and their culture. With his debut movie, Bhat wants to take the audience on a journey through Kashmir, where the beauty of the land is surpassed only by the warmth and resilience of its inhabitants.

During the movie’s poster release ceremony, Bhat spoke passionately about the film, highlighting its significance and the message it aims to convey.

He emphasised that the movie was a team effort of all Kashmiri artists, including the director, editor, actors, singer, and VFX artists, who had come together to present the real image of Kashmir.

For too long, Bollywood movies have painted Kashmiri people as villains and perpetuated stereotypes.

Bhat aims to change that by presenting a positive picture of Kashmir through his movie.

He believes that while Bollywood has shot movies worth hundreds of crores in Kashmir, none of them has shown the real and positive image of Kashmir. Bhat said that his movie delves into crucial issues that plague Kashmir like women empowerment, women safety, drug addiction, and the role of the J&K Police.

“It portrays a true image of the Police force as brave, highlighting their dedication and efforts to maintain peace in Kashmir,” he said.

The movie would also bring to light the plight of the youth who are often involved in drugs, sending a strong message to the audience.

The female lead, Mateena Rajpoot, 23, from Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, spoke about the movie, expressing her joy in working with the local team.

She likened the experience to working with a family, a testament to the camaraderie and dedication of the team.

“I have already worked in south Indian movies. The experience there was good. However, working with the local team gave me a feeling like I working with my family,” Mateena said.

Ahmad Shahab, 25, also from Kashmir is the male lead.

Kashmiri singer Ishfaq Kawa has composed a full Kashmiri song for the movie, something that is not often seen in Bollywood movies. The director said that the movie aims to promote Kashmiri culture and showcase its beauty and positivity to the world.

According to him, ‘Welcome to Kashmir’ was not just a movie, but a message of hope, positivity, and empowerment for the people of Kashmir.

With a talented team of Kashmiri artists and a strong message, this movie promises to be a game-changer, inspiring the audience and paving the way for more such positive depictions of Kashmir in Bollywood.

In a world where the image of Kashmir is often distorted and misrepresented, Tariq Bhat's ‘Welcome to Kashmir’ could be a breath of fresh air.

The movie would be a tribute to the resilience and beauty of Kashmiri culture and an ode to J&K Police.

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