Aspecial screening of a preview of Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Shikara was held in Delhi on Sunday. Around 300 Kashmiri Pandits from Jagti Camp in Jammu watched the film with other renowned people from the Kashmiri Pandit community. Many of these Kashmiri Pandits have also acted in the film. The event was held to mark the 30th anniversary of the Kashmiri Pandits exodus from the Valley. The Kashmiri Pandit exodus, a painful chapter in the modern history of India, took place on the intervening night of January 19 and 20, 1990.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra got emotional while talking about Shikara, which tells the story of the exodus of around 4,00,000 Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in 1990. The director dedicated the film to his mother Shanti Devi, who came to Mumbai from Kashmir in 1989 for the premiere of her son’s Parinda, and could never return to her home. Chopra thanked the Kashmiri Pandits from Jagti Camp for their support in making his dream come true. It took Chopra 11 years to make Shikara.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra said, “It took me 11 years to make this film. I could have made three Munna Bhai films and two 3 Idiots in this duration. People ask me, why this film? And my answer is that it’s not just a film. I have made this film for my mother who died before she could return to her home in Kashmir.”
The director added, “This film is not an attempt to spread hatred against one community, but an attempt to tell our story. We just want to say, hate the hate.”
Along with the preview of Shikara, two other videos were also shown at this event. The first video was made by Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s team to thank Kashmiri Pandits from Jagti Camp for their support. The other video was a documentary which featured Chopra’s mother Shanti Devi when she returned to Kashmir in 1999.
Rahul Pandita, one of the writers of the film and a Kashmiri Pandit who had to leave his home in the Valley in 1990, was accompanied by his father and sister. At the event, Pandita said, “This film is the first attempt to present our story in front of the world. It’s been 30 years since we had to flee and we haven’t gotten justice yet. Justice ki baat toh ab jaane dijiye, at the very least, we need an acknowledgement.”
At the end, the lead actors of the film – Sadia and Aadil Khan – read out two poems used in Shikara. The actors are making their debut with the film. Vidhu Vinod Chopra revealed that Sadia and Aadil prepared for two years for their roles before the shoot began.
Shikara is scheduled to hit screens on February 7.