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A new look at the trouble-torn Kashmir Valley….

Madhur Tankha
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After Parzania, film-maker Rahul Dholakia once again highlights the common man's plight

A light moment: Producer Bunty Walia with actor Sanjay Dutt, who plays an Army officer in ‘Lamhaa'.
A light moment: Producer Bunty Walia with actor Sanjay Dutt, who plays an Army officer in ‘Lamhaa'.

National Award-winning film-maker Rahul Dholakia has made another sensitive film that offers an insight into the life of the common man in trouble-torn Kashmir.

The film-maker has attempted to project the situation prevailing in the border State realistically in Lamhaa that is awaiting release in theatres internationally on July 16. A bearded Sanjay Dutt plays an Army officer in the film while Bipasha Basu plays his soul mate. The film focuses on issues that Kashmir has faced over the years. It also features Kunal Kapoor and Anupam Kher.

Narrating the shooting experience in the Valley, Rahul says Lamhaa was shot at a time when the Jammu blockade was just over. “Separatists and group leaders got together on one platform and there was an open protest against the Amarnath land row. We had gone and shot in the Valley right after that when hostility towards the Union Government was very high. We were shooting around October-end and early November when curfew was imposed everyday in different parts of Srinagar,” he recalls.

On the very first day of shooting, the cast was held hostage. “I was locked up in a room of about 400 people, all questioning me about what I was doing in Kashmir. After nearly five hours of explanation I succeeded in allaying their apprehensions. Some of them had seen Parzania and allowed us to leave…. We could have very easily been shot and nobody would have even come to know,” he says.

Producer Bunty Walia, who met Rahul after seeing Parzania, was narrated the story of Lamha by the veteran film-maker himself. Bunty knew that Lamhaa would be a logistical nightmare but he went ahead with the shooting. “I give full credit to my entire production team which toiled hard to make sure that all was smooth sailing both in Kashmir and Mumbai. It has been a wonderful ride. Today I have an in-depth knowledge of Kashmir and its people, their culture and their warm and endearing nature and hospitality,” says Bunty.


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