SRINAGAR: Mir Sarwar has acted in several Bollywood films, including blockbusters like the Salman Khan-starrer Bajrangi Bhaijan, Jolly LLB 2, Phantom, Dishoom and Ittefaq: It Happened One Night.
But the film that he is most proud of is Kashmir Daily, the first Kashmiri feature film in nearly 46 years. “Everything in the film from the writing, scripting, acting and camera work has been done by Kashmiris,” Sarwar told The New Indian Express.
Shot entirely in Kashmir, the film produced and directed by Hussain Khan cannot be released in the Valley as there are no cinema halls.
But Sarwar, who plays the lead in the film, is not disheartened by that. “The non availability of cinema halls does not stop us from making the films. Fifty years from now, if our future generation asks us, ‘what is your contribution and why you did not make films’, we can’t give the excuse that there were no cinema halls, so we could not make films,” he said.
The film is due for release in cinemas in Delhi and Mumbai on Sunday. Sarwar said it will be released in Udaipur on January 8. Dates for its release in Chennai and Kolkata and all cities with PVRs were being firmed up. “It was to be released in Apsara threatre in Jammu on January 5. But the cinema owner backed out at the last moment,” Sarwar said.
The 2.25 hour-long film skirts politics and focuses on social issues, drug abuse and unemployment. Sarwar plays the role of a reporter in a small newspaper.
Shot in Kashmiri and Urdu, Sarwar said the film has been given a ‘U’ certificate by the Central Board of Film Certification.
The Kashmiri version of the film was screened at SKICC, Srinagar, for a fortnight in March last year and then for a week in Tagore Hall in May.
All cinema halls in the Valley were closed after militancy broke out in the early 1990s. In between there were feeble efforts but security concerns put paid to them.
Kashmir Daily is the first independent film by local producers in Kashmir since 1972, when Shayar-e-Kashmir Mejoor was released. The first Kashmiri film, Mainz Raat, was released in 1964.
On how he raised money for the film, Sarwar said: “It is all self-funded. We have got no sponsors. We have taken money from the market and promised to return the money to them once the film is released and we get the returns.”