A teenage British Kashmiri, Noor, retraces her roots in search of her father. She is joined by Majid, a local Kashmiri boy. Unwittingly they become involved in a 70 year old Kashmir conflict in one of the most deadliest parts of the world.
A story about forgiveness and hope, set against the spectacular backdrop of Kashmir, this epic tragedy unravels through the playful eyes of love-struck teenagers who, in their search, uncover the hidden secrets of the lost fathers of Kashmir.
Majidism : “What do they call you – London?”
How does one make a film about hope when its subject rouses emotions like hate, fear and vengeance? How is one to do it without simplifying or making a caricature of the realities faced by both sides? How to make a film that Kashmiris who’ve suffered untold losses can endorse as an accurate representation while appealing to Indians fed on vengeful propaganda? How can a film that needs to tread such a fine line, appeal to those who should be the most invested in peace, those who have their entire lives ahead of them — young adults in both India and Kashmir?
These are some of the questions that haunted the five years it took to make this film. The struggle went beyond beyond maintaining dramatic pace, artistic integrity and telling a simple love story. All too often, basic dramatic principles did battle with these concerns: too much context would make it a dull polemic and with too little, caricatures would appear. In trying to focus on the main engine of the drama – the multiple stories of love and loss – while representing one of the most complex conflicts in the world – was a bewildering maze of uncertainty and confusion. What helped greatly was a steady compass focused on the idea that political change can only come through emotional engagement. In particular, trying to put across to Indian youth what young people in Kashmir may be living with charm, tenderness and lightness — emotions not associated with Kashmir.
Having made two other films in Kashmir which focused on revealing human rights issues, here I wanted to try to push forward a possible solution. The ability to imagine a way out of darkest despair is what makes us human. No Fathers in Kashmir works on the fundamental premise that forgiveness and hope are vital to our survival as a species. The stories I’ve told are about tangled acts of love, betrayal, friendship and loss — basic impulses universally understood. These impulses have time and again cut through a bloody history and helped us find better ways of living together in peace.
Director Ashvin Kumar with actors Zara Webb (Noor) and Shivam Raina (Majid)
A teenage British Kashmiri, Noor, retraces her roots. She is joined by Majid, a local Kashmiri boy who is more smitten by her exotic foreignness than her obsession to unravel the mysteries of their disappeared fathers.
Much against his better judgement, Majid finds himself guiding Noor to a forbidden area in the Indo-Pak border fraught with danger : wild bears, ghosts of the past and army patrols. They stumble upon a dark secret that they shouldn’t have seen and Majid’s worst fears are realised : they are set upon by an army patrol.
Being British, Noor is released but Majid is chillingly detained for ‘questioning’. Having put him into such peril, how far is Noor willing to go to have Majid released? And, can love ever be the same again for these two?
From the world’s deadliest conflict, based on hundreds of true stories, this tender storm of first-love and heart-break echoes Kashmir’s own story in surprising and revealing ways.
The crew at work on sets of Noor
On 20th February 2016, our Kickstarter campaign to raise £74,000 ($100,000) beat its target.
We approached the Kickstarter platform for funding as we want to make a film without having to compromise our vision. We are ecstatic that so many people came together to raise £74,000 towards making this film. It shows there is a real desire out there to see this incredible script on the big screen.
Kashmir has remained in the peripheries of western consciousness and in media darkness for far too long. Noor is our attempt to change that narrative. The people who’ve supported it at this nascent stage are an endorsement of this effort; they are also our audience and our ambassadors.
To support the crowdfunding campaign, I travelled across the UK to visit Kashmiri communities in London, Glasgow, Manchester, Rochdale, Bradford and Birmingham and held free screenings of my films, Inshallah, Kashmir and Inshallah, Football.