Now Ashoke Pandit to make film on Kashmiri widows

Mumbai: There is a village in Kashmir named Dardpora populated by widows of terrorists and militants and filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, who made a documentary on them, has decided to tell their stories of pain and sorrow through a feature film.

Last year, Pandit visited Dardpora, around 115 km from Srinagar, in the border district of Kupwara, to make the documentary called "Village Of Widows" on them. And on the occasion of the 65th Independence Day, he has decided to convert the documentary into a feature film.

"The visits to Dardpora and the documentary changed my life. Can you imagine, an entire village of widows, and that too the widows of extremists? What do they think in their frozen state of endless solitude? What life do they dream of in their eternal solitude?"

"I captured a lot of their agony in the documentary. But I need to take the message further into a feature film. You see, sometimes dramatized reality is essential to convey the grim layered reality of the socio-political system," said Pandit.

To shoot on location in the volatile village of the damned and doomed would almost certainly create many practical problems for Pandit`s vast cast and crew. But he is determined to revisit Dardpora to shoot the film.

"Isn`t it tragic and ironical that after 64 years of independence there exists a village of widows in Kashmir? After 64 years of independence our prime minister still addresses the nation covered by a bullet proof glass. Maximum security-threat on Independence Day. So are we really independent?"

Real widows from Dardpora will be put through rigorous workshops to "play" militants` widows. They will be sharing screen space with top notch actresses playing widows. In addition, Pandit may sign Shabana Azmi to play the most important widow of the village.

"Apart from the pivotal role I`d like majority of the widows to be played by the new faces. There`re so many talented stage actresses in this country waiting to express themselves on issues that go beyond entertainment," said Pandit who has roped in Vinta Nanda to scripted the film.

His interest in the Kashmir issue dates back to his feature film "Sheen" in 2004 which he had filmed under the shadow of terror threats.


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