EXCLUSIVE Bharat Kaul: Hindu-Muslim, all holding hands… used to watch movies in groups: Bharat Kaul | WHAT DID KASHMIRI PANDIT ACTOR BHARAT KAUL SAY ABOUT THE REOPENING OF HALLS IN KASHMIR

Sneha Sengupta

“Ye andhera mujhe pasand hai/Ye wala andhera thora alog hai/Is mein rahasya hai, ummeed hai, rahat hai/Dosti hai isse meri/Ise main aur mujhe ye pasand hai/Is andhere se mille main khud chala ata hun/Oxor akele , kavi kisi aur ko vi sath le ata hoon/is andhere mein har sapna mumkin sa nazhar ata hai…”—Aamir ‘Lal Singh Chadha’ Khan’s promotional video and YouTube-poetry so far on the occasion of 25 years of PVR movie. ‘Andhera’ lovers, thuri, cinema lovers have practically memorized it. Really… cinema hall dark ‘Thora Alag Hai’. The darkness in which ‘Har sapna mumkin sa nazhar ata hai’ is so compelling today—more precisely—makes Kolkata’s only Kashmiri pandit, Bharat Kalk, nostalgic. Why?

For 32 years, the cinephiles of ‘Bhuswarg’ as well as common people were deprived of watching the film. That wait ended on 18.09.2022, Sunday. After 1980 every movie theater in Bhusvarga got locked. Threats from some terrorist groups forced the owners to open the locks—that’s the charge. That lock was broken on September 18. That day, Jammu and Kashmir Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha inaugurated two multiplexes in South Kashmir. One multiplex is located in Pulwama and the other is in Shopian district. Cinema halls in Doda, Rajouri, Poonch, Kishtwar and Riasi will also be inaugurated, a government press release said. Kashmiri Pandit Bharat Kal is very happy with this decision of the government. He went back to his childhood through TV9 Bangla. The actor watched movies in cinemas in Kashmir as a child. Hohi kere with loved ones—just like ‘oxor akele, kavi kisi aur ko vi sath le ata hoon’. Bharat would enter the theater with popcorn in his hand to watch the performance of his favorite stars. Bharat went to flashback to share that memory of ‘Zia Nostal’.

Dharmendra’s picture and Kishore Kumar’s song in cinema hall of Kashmir

Filling: “I was 9 years old then. I went to Kashmir with my family during summer vacation. Every time I went in the summer. That was the joy of our family children at that time. School holidays in summer meant ‘Kashmir Chalo’. As a result, that year was also gone. I still remember clearly… One day we all decided to go to the cinema together. Dharmendra’s new movie released. The name of the movie is Shalimar. The film was released in 1978. The famous song sung by Kishore Kumar in that film was ‘Hum Bewafa Hargij Na The, Par Hum Waifa Kar Na Sake’… Who can forget that song, who can forget it? Those melodious words flowed from one mountain of heaven to another. Ah… I didn’t forget anything. How long ago…”

There was no difference between cinemas in Kashmir and London

Filling: “It’s okay to go to the movies. The children of the house will also go with them. Anyway, the tickets were booked in ‘Regal’ (single screen). Outside the ‘Regal’ the terrorists later detonated the blast. The cinema hall was at Lal Chowk. We little ones took a packet of popcorn-chips and sat in the hall watching the elders. Dharmendra was not the only one in the film. There was also Zeenat Aman, Shammi Kapoor. We were yawning and swallowing the picture. At that time, everyone in Kashmir used to watch movies in groups like this. Hindus and Muslims, all hold hands. There was no problem anywhere. Later when I went to London, the cinema there felt like, this is my Kashmir… two equally beautiful places to watch movies. Only human faces are different.”

Everything changed after 1980, the bomb fell outside the hall

Filling: “But later everything changed. Watching movies in Kashmir is a thing of the past. After 1980 it was said that watching movies was the work of infidels. And if you must see, you must see things about Islam. The bomb fell outside the ‘Regal’ at Lal Chowk. Terrible thing. The world I knew was changing gradually… People stopped going to cinemas in Kashmir out of fear. Big locks started hanging outside the hall.

An alternative way for cinema lovers in Kashmir

Filling: “Actually, no one would say anything in Kashmir out of fear. But we know there were a thousand ways to watch movies. There were pirated sites. Kashmiris used to watch and watch movies silently on that site. Watched movies in cinemas of Punjab. Many people also went to the cinema hall in Delhi and watched the movie. This is how Kashmiris have done entertainment. But all hidden.”

I want security

Filling: “After 30 years, cinema halls are back in Kashmir. This is very happy news. Very good news. But I have one request to the government: outside the halls, make necessary security arrangements in Kashmir. But it is very necessary.”

The report started with a recent promotional video poem by Aamir ‘Lal Singh Chadha’ Khan on the occasion of 25 years of PVR Cinemas. The poem is written by Vineet Panchi. As you read Bharat Kaal’s Kashmir-cinesmriti, do you remember once again the last lines of that poem: “Kuch alag sa andhera hai ye/is andhere mehn khushi hai, jashan hai, zindegi hai/is andhere mein bahut roshni hai”? ? Incidentally, the screen gifted by Inox to Bhuswarg, the first film to be screened, as far as news is concerned, is ‘Lal Singh Chadha’. Really… ‘Yeh wala andhera thora alag hai’…

The article is in Bengali

Tags: EXCLUSIVE Bharat Kaul HinduMuslim holding hands .. watch movies groups Bharat Kaul KASHMIRI PANDIT ACTOR BHARAT KAUL REOPENING HALLS KASHMIR

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