Film: Kashmir: The Story
Cast: Sheikh Abdullah, Dr.Karan Singh, Shakeel Romshoo, A M Watali, William Dalrymple, Javed Iqbal, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Tilak Deveshwar, Hashim Quereshi
Director: Sudesh Unniraman
Rating: * * * ½
A rather consummate account of the Kashmir story cutting across several decades of history and geographical strife, this 6 part documentary tracing the history and myths of Kashmir from across time, is both riveting and knowledgeable in its assay of the paradise over which many wars have been fought and continue to be fought.
Opening with a Heidi Heily quote from ‘The girl from everywhere,’ a narrator connecting the dots (in English) with informed inputs from (and about) the major actors – including Sheikh Abdullah, Maharaja Hari Singh, Yuvraj Vikramaditya Singh, Dr.Karan Singh, Shakeel Romshoo, A M Watali, William Dalrymple, Javed Iqbal, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Tilak Deveshwar, reformed militant Hashim Quereshi -involved in the parleys, this gritty narrative gathers power as it delves deep into the century of conflict that has paralysed the neo composite state divined as the land of many legends.
The ancient land, rich in rivers, lakes, mountains, bio-diversity and rolling grasslands has many stories to tell and this rendering may not be ambitious enough to do full justice to the legends of the Kashmir region but as a study on the origins of conflict it is both well-crafted and learned. Through archival footage, gritty Black and white re-enactments, interviews and opinions of those intimately involved, this succinct account of facts and events that took place in Kashmir in the last century beautifully coveys the angst of a region torn by conflict.
The historical highlights are presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and there’s avid lucidity in the telling. The enchanting camerawork lends beauty to the purpose without distracting us from the primary theme of gaining an understanding of the conflict. Researched and produced by Iqbal Malhotra with scripting by Annu C M, this fascinating series is a must-see for history buffs, researchers, students of political science and lay public as it illuminates the politics of conflict in a region that is still yearning for paradise.