By Arundhuti Banerjee
Mumbai, March 31 (IANS) It took over eight months for filmmaker Ashvin Kumar to get a U/A certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification for his forthcoming film "No Fathers In Kashmir". Veteran actress Soni Razdan, who plays a pivotal role in the film, says it was worth fighting for, and that whenever a story is told that is different from the popular narrative, the authorities try to curtail that voice.
Talking about the struggle of getting the certificate, Soni told IANS here: "When you are attempting to tell an honest story that does not fit the current, popular narrative, you should be mentally prepared for the trouble coming along with it.
"It was worth fighting for…our story throws light on some of the dark realities that the populists want to keep in shadow. So, those obstacles of censorship, curtailing our views - were bound to come."
"But we, as a team of ‘No Fathers In Kashmir', are happy that we have got a U/A certificate. Ashvin made the film without compromising, with a good intention."
The story of the film revolves around the journey of a girl who visits Kashmir valley in search of her missing father.
On her role in the film, Soni said: "I am playing a mother whose son disappeared years ago. Her granddaughter, who used to live in the UK, comes to Kashmir in search of her father. So my role in the film has a different emotional graph and it is a very nicely written part in the story."
Ashvin, a National Award winner, has written and directed the film.
"When I read the story, the script I just realised that it is such a detailed script that clearly shows how the writer is very well versed with the area that he is bringing on-screen.
"It is the reality we do not know…it has not been explored and this film is tapping into that. It was an eye-opener for me," said Soni, who is half-Kashmiri.
She admits that Kashmiris have a very different mindset from rest of the people living in urban areas, but she also explained the reason behind it.
"We all have problems in our lives but we have not faced an insurgency. They are almost living in a war zone. For the last 30 years, the way they, I mean common Kashmiris, have struggled to get normalcy of life when I look into it in a nuanced manner, it is very disturbing. There is a huge collateral damage.
"It is but obvious then, that they are different," explained the actress.
She believes that the film is the answer to many such questions and the story unfolds the reality of common Kashmiris.
Was it emotionally draining?
"Not emotionally, but I had huge physical exhaustion. We were shooting in a remote village in Kashmir where there were no hotels, so there were no regular facilities which otherwise we get in regular hotels.
"It was very cold and long shooting hours. The place was eight hours of driving from Jammu and we had to go by road.
"But I must say that when I have a compelling story like ‘No Fathers In Kashmir', I do not count these things as challenges. It is just the part of the process."
Asked if meaty roles are her driving force to work so hard even at 62, the "Mandi" actress said: "My passion is my driving force. My acting, writing, performance - keep me on my toes. I always set small goals and work towards them to achieve them. I am one of those people who cannot sit idle at home, I would get depressed. I have a constant hunger to create and to learn…."
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at email@example.com)
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