As soon as director Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s much-awaited film Shikara, which had claimed to depict the “untold story” of the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus by Islamic terrorists, hit the theatres yesterday and found itself in the centre of controversy. Several Kashmiri Hindus and average viewers vociferously alleged that the movie did not do justice to the Kashmiri Hindu cause and watered down the genocide of the Hindus.
The director of the film might think that the movie did full justice to what was promised, Divya Razdan, a Kashmiri Pandit and a defence journalist and researcher do not think so. Speaking to OpIndia Hindi editor Ajit Bharti, Divya said that being a Kashmiri Pandit she disowns the movie completely which she felt is fabricated and devoid of facts.
OpIndia got in touch with Divya Razdan after her video at the screening of the movie went viral on social media where she is seen confronting the filmmaker, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and openly criticising him for watering down Islamic terror in the valley in his movie.
In the video clip, Divya Razdan breaks down and takes on director Vidhu Vinod Chopra for sticking to the safe secular stance throughout the movie, contrary to what the trailer of the movie promised. She accused Chopra of watering down Islamic terror in the valley and instead, showing Kashmiri Pandits as the malefactors. In a video clip shared on Twitter, Divya is seen slamming director Vidhu Vinod Chopra on the selective representation of Kashmiri Pandits in his movie. The worst part about the video that went viral, however, was the manner in which Vidhu Vinod Chopra had mocked Razdan’s pain and anguish by first clapping and then saying that he will make ‘Shikara 2’ for her.
.@VVCFilms responds to the anger and anguish of a genocide victim by saying “bahut achha boli. Taali bajao. Inke liye Shikara II banayenge”. Indian secularism is that sadism which mocks the Hindu victims of Islamist brutality and rubs salts to their wounds. pic.twitter.com/EdpkEIDk0I
— Vikas Saraswat (@VikasSaraswat) February 7, 2020
In a conversation with Ajit Bharti, Divya Razdan exclaimed how in the name of showing the agony of Kashmiri Pandits, the filmmakers’ have depicted Kashmiri Pandits to almost being responsible for their own exodus. Divya said that the film is a sample of Muslim appeasement and gives out a message that the Muslims in Kashmir were extremely compassionate and peace-loving, it was the Hindu’s who were responsible for their own sufferings.
Divya accused the director of making a purely commercial film by presenting a typical love story and overlooked the main issue of the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits and the exodus which the filmmakers had promised to raise through their movie.
She lambasted the filmmaker saying the movie was an eyewash and a disaster. Instead of showing Islamic radicalisation in the valley, the filmmakers have portrayed the Kashmiri Hindus as communal, thundered the irked journalist. She said that the movie showed Muslims as ‘secular’ and never depicted the slogans like La Illaha Illallah that preceded the genocide of Hindus by Islamic terrorists.
Divya further said that she is completely disappointed because the makers of Shikara, including director Vidhu Vinod Chopra, writer Rahul Pandita, and even some journalists like Aditya Raj Kaul had given the viewers a completely different impression with the trailer of the movie. They told the whole world that the movie depicted the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits and the exodus but in the movie, neither genocide was shown nor exodus, exclaimed Divya.
Divulging that she was urged to remain silent after watching Shikara but she chose to speak up, Divya in conversation with OpIndia Hindi editor Ajit Bharti said that she likes to call herself a Kashmiri Hindu rather than a Kashmiri Pandit because it keeps her close to her reality. Divya opined that the atrocities meted out at the Kashmiri Pandits in the valley was because of the sole motive to convert Kashmir into an Islamic state.
Divya said that this has become a reality today, and no one can deny that Kashmir has been completely Islamized today. Speaking to Ajit Bharti she said: “When we heard that a director is finally going to show our tragedy, my interest in it grew. At the time of the trailer, we had some questions in our mind, yet we thought that we would wait for the film. Today we saw this film, Sushil Pandit was also present with me. But there was no talk of the massacre of Kashmiri Pandits anywhere from the first scene of the film to the last. Instead, there was only one lover in the film. This is also fine because it is your film and you have the right to show….”
“…But then what was the need to call it ‘Kashmiri Pandit, an untold story’. You should have said clearly that we are making a common commercial film not to depict the pain of Kashmiri Pandits, but only for entertainment. He (Vidhu Vinod Chopra) should have said that this is a simple love story and not about the agony of Kashmiri Pandits! By doing this he has mocked our feelings, but we refuse to become an object of scorn, so we are opposing this film, said Divya Razdan.
“I was a spokesperson for a Kashmiri organization. After watching the trailer of the film, I thought, why not questions the filmmakers or people attached to this film. That is why I asked the film director, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, that you could have simply called it a love story. And if you claim that this movie is a depiction of the agony of Kashmiri Pandits, then why have you kept a Muslim in the lead role, why not a Hindu? It is clear that they want to hide the Islamic radicalization in the valley. What was shown in the film was a mockery of our painful story”, claimed the journalist.
“In exchange for these questions, I was trolled, I was defamed and singled out. The organization I was associated with also disassociated itself from me.” These people distanced me from them because they probably believed that Vidhu Vinod Chopra may have made some contribution to Kashmiri Pandits, but I think otherwise.
Divya Razdan said that her objection was that Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the director of this film should not have propagated his movie as a movie on the atrocities on Kashmiri Pandits. She said: “We could not understand our tragedy thirty years ago and even today we are not being allowed to understand it”. Divya also said that had Chopra marketed the movie as a mere love story, nobody would perhaps have an issue. But Chopra used the pain of the genocide to market his movie and then showed nothing of the Genocide.
She asks OpIndia editor to watch Shikara and decided on his own whether the Kashmiri Pandits have been cheated or not?
Recalling the adverse circumstance, created by radical Islamists, which compelled her family to migrate from Kashmir, Divya said “When Islamic radicalization started in the valley, a hit list was printed. One day a few Islamic terrorists with AK-47’s hidden in their shawls came knocking at our door. They knocked on the door taking my father’s name, asking us to call him out. But Papa stepped out the back door of the house after hearing the voice of the extremists. The Muslim family living in our neighbourhood noticed by father escaping from the back-door. On opening the door, when the mother said that my father was not at home, the Muslim family in the neighbourhood told the terrorists that he had just run from behind and asked them to run and grab him quickly before he flees.”
“.. by the grace of God, my father and we were able to escape safely that day.” Sitting in a truck at night, we came to Jammu from Kashmir valley. After some time we came to Delhi barefoot and empty-handed. We were so helpless at that time that my mother had to give away her gold chain to the doctor for her treatment in the hospital”. Divya recalled that the doctor, though being a Hindu himself even despite hearing our problems, did not agree to give her free treatment”.
“Even today, people tell me that I should have fought then. But the question is, how could we confront those blood-thirsty Islamic terrorists who were ready to do anything to convert Kashmir into an Islamic state? They had arms and ammunitions, could we even think of confronting them with stones?” said Divya.
In three decades, the real story of Kashmiri Pandits has never been told. History became a legend, legend became myth and in three decades, the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits was turned into a voluntary exodus from the valley. The denial of Islamic bigotry and genocides of Hindus is not a recent phenomenon. It has been an ongoing project since the very inception of the Indian State.
Shikara was expected to be the first real effort by the entertainment industry to bust this organized campaign of genocide denial, but unfortunately, the viewers have come out with a completely adverse opinion about the movie.
The full interview can be watched here: