The first look of Rahul Dholakia’s next film Lamhaa was presented at the IIFA weekend in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The whole cast and crew of the film took part in a press conference to promote this film which, according to Dholakia, “is different from other films made on the plight of Kashmiris. This film is not from the point of view of the government or the politicians, it is from the point of view of the people of Kashmir.”
Dholakia whose hard-hitting and critically acclaimed film Parzania on the 2002 Gujarat riots has won him a National Award points out that Lamhaa focuses on how the people and the army in Kashmir face terrorism and deal with it. “It is not anti-India or pro-Pakistan and vice versa. But, just highlights a point of view which has not been shown earlier. It is a film that is pro-humanity, a film that makes you think,” said Dholakia.
“Lamhaa is about that moment between life and death and is placed in Kashmir because you never know when that moment may arrive there. We shot in the valley at a time when trouble was still brewing and the future was uncertain. It was scary,” Dholakia explained, adding that they got full support from the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and from the people in Kashmir while shooting there.
“The war is over, but the battle has just begun,” said Sanjay Dutt who plays M.I. officer Vikram in Lamhaa and has nostalgic memories of the valley. “My father used to shoot for his films in Kashmir and that time as a kid, I used to often accompany him, so that place was very close to my heart. Shooting in Kashmir was a wonderful experience, the place is truly amazing.” Lamhaa shows the need to have channels of communication to resolve problems, maintained Sanjay.
Bipasha Basu plays separatist leader Aziza, a strong, independent Kashmiri girl who fights for what she wants. “She is not the typical Kashmir Ki Kali. Perhaps, that is why Rahul chose a Bengali like me to play a Kashmiri girl,” she said. “The role echoes the sentiments of a Kashmiri girl who wants freedom. She soon realises that what she is doing may not be the right thing. She then decides to dedicate her self for peace of her people.” Her co-star Kunal Kapoor plays Aatif, once a militant and now a youth leader in Kashmir.
Finally Anupam Kher, a Kashmiri Pandit playing top separatist leader Haji of Azad Kashmir, got very emotional remembering the peaceful days of Kashmir. “I’ve known Kashmir when it was free of bombs, gunfire and the army. But when I returned to the valley recently for this film, I saw only fear and destruction. Cinema teaches you to separate yourself from emotional issues, but I was still sad to see what my paradise had lost.”
Certainly a film which should not be missed. Lamhaa is scheduled to release on July 16, the soundtrack by Mithoon will be available on June 14.