Shikara poster
Shikara poster Image Credit: Instagram/#vidhuvinodchopra

A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court against Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s upcoming film ‘Shikara: The Untold Story Of Kashmiri Pandits’, demanding a stay on its release and deleting some of the scenes.

‘Shikara’ is set against the backdrop of the Kashmiri Pandit exodus from the Kashmir Valley in late 1989 and early 1990, in the wake of violent Islamist insurgency. The film is scheduled to release on February 7.

The petitioners are Iftikhar Misgar, Majid Hyderi and Irfan Hafiz Lone, who have alleged that the film portrays untrue facts about Kashmir and Kashmiri Pandits.

Misgar said: “We are asking for stalling the release and deleting a few scenes that portray the valley’s Muslims in a bad light.”

“We have urged the high court to take the case up on a priority basis,” he added.

A new video earlier in the day tweeted by Vidhu Vinod Chopra Films’ official page said: “In 1990, more than 400,000 Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave their home. Thirty years later, their story will finally be told.”

It also showed that a select audience at the special pre-screening showered praises and gave a standing ovation.

The petition said that those who have moved the plea are businessman, social activist and journalist-political analyst. They said that though the period depicted in the film is one of the most painful of memories for the Pandits, “however, one unquestionable view is that local Kashmiri Muslims were deadly against the incidents leading to the mass migration of Kashmiri Pandits”.

It also said: “...Kashmiri Muslims and Sikhs tried their level best to prevent the Kashmiri Pandits from leaving the valley”.

The plea furthersaid: “The Government records also suggest that there was no role of the Muslim population, especially Kashmiri Muslim, for the mass migration....

The movies trailer though showed, says the petitioners: “...shabby and cruel picture of the local population, especially Muslims, has been portrayed, which is not only against the actual facts and events, but has also the tendency of hurting the sentiments of all Kashmiris”.

One of the screenplay writers of the film, Rahul Pandita, recently replied to a tweet and wrote: “I am a Kashmiri Pandit who lost everything in 1990, while you were doing God knows what in Bombay. I am the writer of #shikara and I would not let anyone compromise on the Pandit story. I will not betray the memory of those who fell to the bullets of radical Islamists.”

In a separate tweet he shared: “This is what I said in my opening remarks on the day #shikara was screened in Delhi. Unlike makers of soft porn films, Kashmir and the story of what happened to the Pandits in 1990 is not a money-making venture for me. It is what I lived.”

‘Shikara: The Untold Story Of Kashmiri Pandits’ marks Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s comeback to Bollywood as a director for the first time since his 2007 release, ‘Eklavya’, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan, Vidya Balan, Raima Sen, Jackie Shroff and Jimmy Sheirgill. Chopra introduces Aadil Khan and Sadia in the lead roles of ‘Shikara’.