Film on Kashmiri pandits selected for film fest in New York

NEW DELHI: ‘I am – Megha’, a film touching upon the lives of Kashmiri Pandits forced to flee Kashmir and starting their lives anew in a new place and environment, has been selected as the opening film at the “Engendered Film Festival” in New York on 21 September.

Directed by Onir, it is one of the four films made on protagonists who share a common dream – a desire to regain their lives.

The series ‘I am’ is an initiative of film director-producer Onir and actor-producer Sanjay Suri to make films addressing certain issues in society, and a vision to use the medium of mainstream films to spread awareness while popularising the culture of watching content oriented cinema.

Says Onir, "With this project, we hope to bring in another dimension to independent cinema in India. This project offers scope to different co-producers to partly co-produce any of the stories along with the main producers. We believe that independent cinema exists to give a voice to those working against the tide and outside the system."

‘I am Megha’ is a story of two friends - a Kashmiri Pandit woman and a Muslim woman - separated by conflict. Against the backdrop of the ethnic cleansing in Kashmir in the late 80’s and early 90’s, this story tells of loss of home and identity.

Megha, enacted by Juhi Chawla, returns to the Valley after 16 years to sell her old home, and is reminded of the life she spent with her best friend Rubina, a Muslim, enacted by Manisha Koirala. The film has been partially inspired by the assassination of the father of Sanjay Suri, who also plays a role in the film.

‘I am Afia’ is the story of a single woman who wants to experience motherhood, but is afraid of the ticking clock. Unable to trust or even wait for a man, she decides to find that perfect donor who can give her the perfect child. Her search takes her through the underbelly of desire- desperation.

‘I am Omar’ with Rahul Bose is a horrific tale of sexual discrimination; blackmail and prejudice is part of the torrid fabric. It reveals how the police use Article 377 (law under Indian Penal code which criminalizes homosexuality) to harass and blackmail gay men. ‘I am Abhimanyu,’ starring Anurag Kashyap, is the story of a child sexual abuse survivor.

Beginning as a documentary filmmaker, Onir has made three feature films before this series, all with Suri: ‘My brother Nikhil’, ‘Bas Ek Pal’ and ‘Sorry Bhai’. Suri has acted in around 25 films beginning with ‘Pyar mein kabhi kabhi’ in 1999.

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