Last week the so called controversial movie ‘Haider’ released amidst of #BoycottHaider on social networking sites. Starring Shahid Kapoor, Tabu and Shraddha Kapoo, Haider is doing satisfactory business. So far it is ₹30 crore on box office. Based on the William Shakespeare’s tragic Play “Hamlet”, the movie has received excellent ratings from all the high end critics of the country as well in foreign. Leading newspaper TOI has described Haider as superb, witty, violent, tragic-magic where as the world famous IMDb forum gives 9 star to the movie out of the maximum 10.But the ground reality is little different, some people are describing it as a anti-national as well anti-Indian army movie because of the Kashmir twist in the hamlet play.
The movie is based on the family who lives in Kashmir and it shows all the difficulties which normal civilians have to face while living in the region. Due to heavy presence of the army in the region it is almost impossible for Kashimiris to live like the rest of us. It outlines all the loop holes in the Indian laws made for Kashmir and also depicts the ground reality of the region. One scene of the movie showed that for an early morning crackdown – people were holding their identity cards close to their chest, hoping they will return home safe.
These crackdowns and curfews has now become a part of their routine. A Delhieit or a Mumbaikar can’t even think of standing in a queue with their Identity card in a cold morning for an army inspection but in Kashmir it has been done since independence.
In a different scene, a lady standing next to an old man is convincing him to enter his house, but the man is not responding. Irrfan Khan (a stranger and a civilian), who is watching this from a distance, comes closer to the old man, casually frisks him and asks him to enter his own house. The old man obeys his orders and enters his own house. Irrfan sarcastically states, “Talaashi ki itni aadat ho gayi hai yahan logon ko ki jab tak koi tatol na le, apne gharon mein bhi ghusne ki himmat nahi hoti.” Precisely there, the movie leaves this brutal, dark and scary message of Kashmir and its people.
The harsh truth is that the Kashimiris are facing these problems since independence, but is has been on screen for the first time. The reason for the row over this movie is the same. So far Indians only tasted the sweet apples and saw the charismatic landscapes of Kashmir through the casual Bollywood movies but for the very first time, a movie perturbed a lot of people because it showed something different form the expected stuff.
Even though the ultra-nationalists are claiming that the movie is to defame Indian army and is pro –Pakistan, the movie depicts no such incidence, it only outlines the loop holes in our laws. In fact the closing subtitles of the movie clearly thank Indian army for saving thousands of Kashimiris during the recent flood in the region.
This movie not only shows the reality but also demands a change. The laws are to protect Kashmir but in lieu of protecting Kashmir we should not forget to do the same with its people because first they are Indians then Kashimiris. Civilians should be treated like civilians, if you call them criminals over and over again then they will be one. Saint Augustine said, “An unjust law, Is no law at all”, it’s time for the country to give it a thought.