Kerala

Anthem inspired by ‘deafening’ silence around struggle of Kashmiris

A still from Anthem for Kashmir

A still from Anthem for Kashmir | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The release of filmmaker Sandeep Ravindranath’s single, Anthem for Kashmir, coincides with the 1,000 days of the abrogation of Article 370 on May 1. The nine-plus minute music video has been shot entirely in Kashmir, in areas where Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is in place. The single was inspired by the ‘deafening’ silence around the “struggle of a people” among other things, Mr. Ravindranath says.

He uses hard-hitting Tamil lyrics to conjure vivid, uncomfortable images that articulate the condition of the people in Kashmir after Article 370, which gave Jammu and Kashmir political autonomy, was revoked in August 2019. “I have Kashmiri friends, it was a hard time. I was not able to get in touch with them as communication was affected at the time. More than that, even if I did not have Kashmiri friends… It is about a people struggling,” he adds. Filming was not easy, given the situation (restrictions) in the Valley and the pandemic. 

Mr. Ravindranath spent a month in Kashmir, filming the video working with a mostly Kashmiri crew and cast. “The people there were extremely supportive and helpful despite the hardships they are faced with.” The video touches on - via the action and lyrics - rubber pellets being fired on protesters, Kashmir’s ‘half-widows’ who live in limbo not knowing if their husbands are alive, the ‘missing’ and the ‘disappeared’ people, and ‘encounter’ deaths. A take on Banksy’s graffiti, ‘Girl with Balloon’ (2002), shows up but with an eyepatch, an allusion to the wounds caused by rubber pellets to the eyes of Kashmiri children.   

From Anthem for Kashmir

From Anthem for Kashmir | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A music video on Kashmir, with Tamil lyrics because, “Tamil words were suited for it, they sound more impactful and the lines are strong in the language. It is suited for rap and rock,” he adds. Syed Ali and Abi Abbas are the writers; Mr. Ravindranath composed the music for which his experience as a musician came in handy. The recording was done remotely as all the musicians are based in different cities across the globe. 

Mr. Ravindrananth, who hails from Kalady, holds a degree in Music Technology from New York University and has worked as a programmer analyst for Sony Music, Manhattan. He has directed short films such as The Bookshelf, Tharattu Pattu, Santhana Gopala, Diary of an Outsider and Sub Brothers, which have been screened at various film festivals, nationally and internationally. 


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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 1:02:44 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/anthem-inspired-by-deafening-silence-around-struggle-of-kashmiris/article65366288.ece