Friday, June 04, 2010

IIFA 2010: Bipasha Basu, Sanjay Dutt Defend Kashmir Film

The cast members of a controversial Indian movie on Kashmir said they will not let politics get in the way of their art, whether its politics in India or Sri Lanka.

Lamhaa is a film set in troubled Kashmir where a military investigator, played by Sanjay Dutt, investigates a blast in an unlikely partnership with a young, female Muslim leader, played by Bipasha Basu. In the process they learn about, “the corrupt nexus of politicians, intelligence, militancy and the crucifixion of idealistic and passionate people,” according to the movie’s press release.

The film had to overcome local opposition as it was being shot. Its director, Rahul Dholakia, had to meet with local leaders in Kashmir to explain the story. Today the cast are facing pressure from the other side of the country to avoid promoting it at the International Film Academy event being held in Colombo, Sri Lanka this week.

To show their anger at the way Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority has been treated by the government, the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce and other groups have pledged to avoid the films of any actor or director that shows up at the event here.

The cast meembers of Lamhaa said from a stage in Colombo that some groups didn’t want their film to be made in the first place but they pushed forward despite the opposition.

“We are here to celebrate cinema and cinema sees no religion, no culture,” said Bipasha Basu, who plays Aziza in the movie. “We are here to spread the message of entertainment.”

Films that enlighten and educate can be used to calm tensions in places like Sri Lanka and Kashmir, they said.

“We are a family of mixed religions,” said Mr. Dutt, who plays Vikram in the film. “The film industry gets people together.”


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