Saturday, August 04, 2007

it took just one email

the screening of sanjay's film on kashmir got stopped not once but twice. first at bhupesh bhavan, on the 27th and then at prithvi on the 30th.

both the screenings were organised by vikalp

on the first day the police barged in saying that they could not allow the film to be screened on the basis of one email complaint by some person who says that this film could spread unrest, and create a law and order situation. the police, after much fanfare, sealed the DVD and went off saying that they would have to see the film before they can allow a screening.

on monday, the law and order issue was kept aside ( because it remains a flimsy excuse and the police can be easily embarassed, and the censor certificate bogey was used.

technically, any screening of a film without a censor certificate is illegal. so a screening at a festival, a film club, a preview for the press or fellow filmmakers, even a screening in your home, can be stopped- the distinction between a private screening and public screening does not exist in law. absurd, but thats the law.

and the law goes unchallenged. we come up with one strategy after the next to screen films that are not part of the mainstream distribution network.

so why does this particular film get targeted? because it represents real voices from kashmir?

voices that we dont want to hear? narratives we dont want to see and deal with?

what the mainstream press tells us is what forms our opinions and we remain content within that- encounters, ambushes, bomb blasts, terrorist outfits....thats kashmir. and ofcourse the sham of hoisting the flag every 15th august in the heart of srinagar and telecasting it -the mandatory folk songs sung by young girls in traditional kashmiri gear. year after year we see these images.

to come back to the title of this post. it took one email complaint for the police to leave aside everything to stop the screening of this film that chose not to show the usual stories that come out of kashmir.

what does that one email represent - the complete inability to tolerate another way of seeing. and the police readily acts on this impulse, what else are they here for?

for me it also represents the precarious, very precarious space on which we stand- the group that has been working tirelessly to create and alternative space for viewing and discussing documentaries and short fiction films. a space that is not shaped by commerce -box office numbers, trp ratings, advertising revenue - as independent filmmakers we hold onto this space so we can keep doing the work we do, in the way we want to! and one email is all that it took to stop this screening. could we be on more precarious ground?

meanwhile people are arrested because they were carrying fact finding reports of state excesses in different parts of the country. gosh what incriminating evidence!!!


anja said...

that's preposterous that a film screening is stopped in a democracy..

Aditya Raj Kaul said...

Sorry to say but its just imagination that sees this so called documentary based on reality in Kashmir. It is a typical fiction. Either Sanjay Kak should say that he did this work for a particular lobby to impress them, or else he should study the details and history of KASHMIR and then come up with a newer version which shows complete picture. Sanjay has made a joke of himself by organising various screenings of this movie starring among others terrorists Yasin Malik and hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani. What about the common masses who were murdered, raped, kidnapped and looted by terrorists like Yasin Malik ? Has Sanjay any answers or he just wanted to propogate the viewpoint of a terrorist and marketed the movie as the aspiration of the common masses. I feel sorry for him.

SUR NOTES said...

aditya:sanjay might have based his film on fiction or on a joke- but i still have the right to see the film and form my own opinion. no one else can decide for me what i should see or not see.

consciously subconscious said...

yeah to feel that the very same surrenders that u see on news, are actually staged is to get to know th reality in one way. but as i said its just one of th ways that without being told, seeing th same surrender in "this" movie u realize for yourself; that how media might actually be presenting the VT station as Shivaji's fort to the people of South america !!


Anarchytect said...

ditto, sur.

Aditya Raj Kaul said...

surely you can. I never questioned your right of opinion. But would still advice you to read more and in detail about the real cause and suferers.

The last comment was my opinion on this whole drama created by Kak. Even I have a right to make authorities aware of the illegal and anti-national hatred being spread by Sanjay Kak and his other "Jholawallahs". And I certainly will continue to do it...till TRUTH comes out in public. ! Thanks for allowing all my comments on your blog unlike Sanjay's Jashn-e-aazadi blog.. Regards - ArK

SUR NOTES said...

aditya: i am most interested in EVERY point of view because it pains me to see the loss of so many lives in kashmir, and the extent of people in exile from kashmir. to shut my ears to the different voices from kashmir is tantamount to already taking a position. and i refuse to take a position on the basis of government reports and mainstream media's representation.

which is why its is important to see other material from kashmir. you would agree that the voices from kashmir are as suppressed as those from the pitiable refugee camps of jammu ( i am from jammu ,by the way). you can not say that we will listen to one set of voices and not the other.

the only way we can even begin thinking about kashmir is by first listening, and accepting many many uncomfortable truths.

its unfortunate that the issue of kashmiri pandits is always put in opposition to those of the kashmiri someone who is clearly very involved with the issue of kashmiri pandits, you of all people should actively begin engaging with the different representations of kashmir rather than opposing it.

by opposing a film, a speaker, an article etc you are saying that you refuse to accept that another version exists. but another version DOES exist. how can banning anything take away from the existence of the many versions that always exist.

Aditya Raj Kaul said...

Dear Surbhi,

I from the core of my heart appreciate the approach of your carrying forward the discussion, this is unlikely seen today and that too on such a complex issue.

I never told you to belive Government reports or media coverage because government has always been biased against Pandits be it the central or the state government and on the other hand media never gave emphasis to our woes and our plight went un-noticed. You read neutral sources but interact with all the parties in the Kashmir issue. I hope this will atleast give you a complete picture rather then Sanjay's masala movie.

I personally don't have anything against Sanjay Kak or any particular individual or community. My only concern is that broadly categorised into 2:

a) Why Yasin Malik is shown as a hero when he is a mass murderer which he himself accepts? Why was he treated and invited for the first screening at New Delhi?

b) Documentary means puting facts as they are. Then why all angles were not taken from Kashmir. What about other communities and other versions? Why government figures of killings were taken for Pandits and non-givernmnent figures taken for killings of Muslims?

These are some hard facts which cannot be igniored. There isn't a single person who has been convicted for killing, kidnapping, looting, and destrying Pandits and their property. Pandits weren't mad when more than 4 lakh of them left the valley under immense fear and under gun point in 1990.

I would sum it up quoting a Jewish poet which clears puts my side:

"I am old sorrow and past predicament. Now, without identity in a streetnameless to me,I am a stranger: I am longings,I am fears.The past is years dissolving into memory.The past is emigration, flight;the present: yearning and homesickness dissolving into years.I am the wandering childlonging to belong to his lostchildhood and not be outside the present,always withdrawn, apart.I am the homeless child who grew up in displacement living in homesickness and sickness of the heart."

I request you to visit our campaign blog @

Hope you will realise why I'm blunt, broken and emotional. I'm refugge in my own country...Is there any human rights activist, agency, government, media or any individual who can understand and help Kashmiri Pandits?

Thanks and Regards
Aditya Raj Kaul

Space Bar said...

Sur, in totaly agreement with you here on this. Banning a screening, or not allowing someone else to speak is completely not the point.

Mr. Kaul, the people who want the film screened are the people who want to know more; it is the people who don't want such films to be screened who believe that they ought to have a monopoly on what people can see, hear or be told.

ajay noronha said...

hey this is fantastic!...this dialogue betw sur n aditya. aditya, i see your anguish and as we all know these issues don't have easy solutions. by writing, making films, etc we can only hope to begin a dialogue. I feel, we as a people, as a nation (perhaps the world even) are getting increasingly intolerant to the innate differences this nation has always had. We need more such discussions, more openness in accepting that there are different points of view and banning things is only going to make things worse. Do you see a parallel here in the Bombay Bomb blasts verdict? It's the same wheel in spin...

Aditya Raj Kaul said...

Thanks Ajay for your reaction. I'm as well a staunch supporter of freedom of expression and press. I'm no hindu or muslim fundamentalist, who is demanding to stop this propaganda movie. I'm commenting only because I know what is behind this movie, one can't simply ignore criminals like Yasin Malik and fundamentalists like Syed Ali Shah Geelani. I agree more awareness needs to be spread through print and elctronic media and other methods but creating a movie like Jashn-e-azadi will only rub salt on wounds of the laks of Pandits who have been living in exile for last 18 years. There is a proper method to address a issue and making a documentary is the best possible method, but then we need to document the reality and not being partial to any side.

Plz do read the below given review of this movie which has been published today in a Kashmir daily:

Celebrating too much of freedom

Of course, half truths are more dangerous than plane lies and that is what Sanjay Kak’s Jashn-e-Azadi explains so lucidly but painfully, Rashneek Kher reviews -


shaina said...

you know, i'm happy about the fact that this film brings out the bile, makes us confront uncomfortable truths or myths...ive thought about this film with the broadest possible filters and i fail to see why its so problematic. please guys...get a grip. i find barkha dutt in kargil more offensive. i personally witnessed operation sadbhhavna in action in ladak and kargil, listened to a presentation by col/ birg i forget what he was...ah maj. general arjun ray - the strategic architect of this 'trust game' and met with many chilling realities. the tense undercurrents in jashne-e-azadi are almost caricatures...the real stuff - whether army occupation and oppression or kashmiri politics is far more far as propaganda films go...thank god jashn-e-azadi was made.

for those who propose bans but continue to have ludic too-too-main-main debates ---heres a productive converstation that happened.
you will need vlc player to view...