‘Kashmir –Before Our Eyes’ a three-day film festival organised by the Film Division, will begin in Mumbai on May 31. As the title suggests, the festival, curated by filmmakers Ajay Raina and Pankaj Rishi Kumar, will comprise shorts, documentaries and feature films – all focusing on Kashmir. The festival is open to everyone and the entry is free.

The programme schedule is as follows:

[box_light]May 31st[/box_light]

(4 pm – 6 pm)
Roots Of The Conflict: The nationalist discourse

Storm Over Kashmir
1948/Non-Fiction/English/45 min/B.D. Garga /Films Division
A Films Division documentary about 1947 war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir

A Diary of Aggression
1966/Non-Fiction/English/23 min/N.V.K. Murthy/Films Division
This Films Division documentary about 1965 war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir “has been compiled from authentic newsreel coverage between May and October 1965 during which period a series of acts, covert and overt by Pakistan, unfolded.”

Discussion about India Pakistan wars: TBA

(6.30 pm – 8 pm)
Curtain Raiser
Special India Preview

Valley Of Saints

2012/Fiction/English/82 min/Musa Sayeed /USA
Widely considered to be the crown jewel of Kashmir, the Dal Lake is a sprawling aquatic community where erupting political violence often distracts from the natural beauty. Gulzar, a young, working-class boatman, plans to skip town with his best friend Afzal in search of a better life, but a week-long military curfew derails their departure. Forced to wait it out, Gulzar and Afzal discover they are not alone: a young woman named Asifa is also trapped on the lake, but by choice. She’s researching the lake’s ecosystem and brings on Gulzar to be her guide. As they navigate the floating landscape, an unlikely relationship blossoms between the two. With the end of the conflict looming, Gulzar has to choose between a new life or a new love.

Shot during the military curfew of 2010, Valley of Saints weaves together documentary and fiction, ancient myths and contemporary issues, and the beauty and danger of Kashmir to tell a story of finding one’s path home in a changing world.

[box_light]June 1st [/box_light]

(10 am – 1 pm)
Paradise: Kashmir Then and Now – Before My Eyes
1988/Non-Fiction/English/24 min/Mani Kaul/India

Lolaab: A Valley In The Himalayas
1990/Non-Fiction/English/57 min/Mohiuddin Mirza/India
In the valley of Lolaab, a remote section of Kashmir in northern India, the people still lead a traditional life unaffected by modernisation. Learn about the culture of the people of Lolaab, how they survive the elements and how the violence and militancy of the modern Kashmiri independence movement has affected them over the years.

Paradise On a River of Hell

2003/Non-Fiction/English/30 min/Abir Bashir Bazaz & Meenu Gaur/PSBT/India
Abir Bazaz and Meenu Gaur’s ‘Paradise on a River of Hell’ is a film on Kashmir’s catastrophic desolation. The film weaves itself out of the knots of memory, the tapestry of truths and the cruel calligraphy of fate Kashmir witnessed in the 1990s. It seeks to reflect and refract the multiple experiences of tortured subjectivity in Kashmir.

Discussion: Kashmir Before 1990
Moiuddin Mirza/Piyush Shah/Jyoti Swaroop/ Siddhartha Gigoo moderated by Ajay Raina

(2 pm – 4 pm)
Exile/ Disappearance/Dislocation: The Last Day
2013/Fiction/Kashmiri-Hindi/12 min/ Siddhartha Gigoo /India
Set in 1994 in a camp for Kashmiri Pandit exiles, the film portrays four frayed lives in a scrawny 8 x 10 tent. Gossamer memories of a glorious past taunt their tawdry and uncertain present. An old patriarch is battling dementia on his deathbed. His wife has lost the will to live. His son and daughter-in-law struggle for personal space. Will they ever find deliverance? Will they rediscover love? Will tomorrow be any different from today or yesterday? The river has all the answers, yet flows, eternally silent.

Tell Them, The Tree They Had Planted Has Now Grown

2001/Non-Fiction/Kashmiri-English/58 min/Ajay Raina/PSBT/India
A cinematic diary of a Kashmiri revisiting Kashmir to witness the scars of a ‘paradise’ now lost. Ajay Raina looks at the lives of the Kashmiris who have stayed behind and their struggles. He examines the changing scenario – the ideology, the history and the cause of militancy in Kashmir. It also delves into the psychological scars, the despair and the hopes for a better future, a better Kashmir.

A reading from ‘The Garden of Solitude’ by Siddartha Gigoo and Q&A with the filmmakers 

(4:15 pm – 6:15 pm)
Where Have You Hidden My Crescent Moon
2009/Non-Fiction/Kashmiri-English/28 min/ Iffat Fatima/ India
The film was made in 2009 in collaboration with the Association of the Parents of Disappeared Persons in Kashmir (APDP), a collective of the family members, mostly mothers and spouses, of the victims of enforced disappearances in Kashmir seeking information about the whereabouts of their disappeared relatives. The film is part of a larger project on enforced disappearances, which began in 2006. It explores issues of memory, violence and healing. Mughal Mase lived in Habba Kadal, Srinagar, Kashmir. The film is a tribute to Mughal Mase and her relentless quest for justice and redress. On September 1, 1990, her only son, Nazir Ahmed Teli, a teacher, disappeared.

Autumn’s Final Country
2005/Non-Fiction/Kashmiri- English/66 min/ Sonia Jabbar / India
It is a touching story of Indu, Zarina, Shahnaz and Anju – four women who suffer displacement in the conflict-ridden Jammu and Kashmir. Recorded as testimonials for the South Asia Court of Women (Dacca, August 2003), the film explores the lives of each woman as she relates the circumstances leading to her rootlessness, and reveals an intimate dimension of the Kashmir conflict, raising questions about patriarchal values and power, communal identities, patriotism and war.

Discussion – Moderated by Kalpana Sharma

(6:30 pm – 8:30 pm)
Bub (The Father)
2009/Fiction/Kashmiri/120 min/Jyoti Sarup/NFDC/India
The film is based on the Vandahama tragedy, where a Kashmiri Pundit family was massacred before the Republic day on 26 January.

Screening followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker 

[box_light]June 2nd[/box_light]

(10:30 am – 1:30 pm)
Azadi: Jashn-E-Azadi

2007/Non-Fiction/Kashmiri-Urdu-English/140 min/Sanjay Kak /India
On Independence Day, the Indian flag ritually goes up at Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar, Kashmir. The normally bustling square is eerily empty – a handful of soldiers on parade, some more guarding them, and except for the attendant media crews, no Kashmiris. ‘Jashn-e-Azadi’ explores the many meanings of freedom in Kashmir.

(2:30 pm – 3:45 pm)
Marginalisations: Pather Chu Jaeri – The Play Is On
2001/Non-Fiction/Kashmiri-Urdu-Hindi/44 min/Pankaj Rishi Kumar/PSBT/India
How does art survive in a regime of fear? It follows two groups of theatre, the National Bhand Theatre, Wathora, and the Bhagat Theatre, Akingam, as they prepare for public performances, a rare phenomenon today. They still perform the traditional pather form of satirical plays. For the bhands, who daily witness the erosion of their way of life, each performance represents both a change as well as a repetition of the same brutal fact: that they are not free to share their revolutionary spirit.

Screening followed by a Q&A with Pankaj Rishi Kumar

(3:45 pm – 5:45 pm)
Apour Ti Yapour. Na Jang Na Aman. Yei Chu Talukpeth (Between Border and The Fence. On The Edge of The Map)

2011/Non-Fiction/Kashmiri-Urdu-English/78 min/ Ajay Raina/PSBT/India

It focuses on the people living on the LOC that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, Apour Ti Yapour explores the same themes as Raina’s previous documentaries, ‘Tell Them, The Tree They Had Planted Has Now Grown’ and ‘Wapsi.’ All the films explore geographical and psychological dislocation, the notion of exile and the yearning for a return to less fractious times.

Screening followed by a Q&A with Ajay Raina 

(6:30 pm – 8 pm)
The Long Autumn After Winter: Harud
2012/Fiction/Urdu/99 min/ Aamir Bashir/India
Rafiq and his family struggle to come to terms with the loss of Rafiq’s older brother, Tauqir, a tourist photographer. Tauqir disappeared during the onset of the militant insurgency in Kashmir. After an unsuccessful attempt to cross the border into Pakistan to become a militant, Rafiq returns home to an aimless existence, until one day he accidentally discovers his brother’s old camera.

Screening followed by a Q&A with Shanker Raman (Producer/cinematographer) 

Venue: RR Theatre, 10th Floor, Films Division, 24, Pedder Road, Mumbai – 400026.