Kashmir : Even as Kashmir remained caged amid continued curfews and shutdowns for the last more than three months, a film crew from South India completed shooting of a Telugu film in a back to back schedule stretching over a month here.
With people and traffic off the roads, the film crew backed by elaborate security had literally entire Kashmir to themselves, a dream come true for any director.
The movie ‘Rose Garden’ revolves around the story of a Kashmiri girl and a Hyderabad journalist.
“When we came here there were more military personnel than civilians on the ground. The situation was such that at first we were frightened and were in doubt whether to do shooting or pack up,” said G Ravi Kumar, director of the movie.
“But then the Chief Minister, the DG Police and the tourism officials came forward to help us. They gave us tremendous support, provided security and permissions on fast-track basis. It is due to these reasons that we completed the shooting within a month.”
Besides a contingent of Kashmir police, the crew was also accompanied by CRPF personnel.
“We shot at Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Mughal gardens, Dal Lake and many other places. Nowhere did we feel insecure. There was help at every corner,” Kumar said, adding that the movie was loosely based on the current situation of Kashmir.
The movie stars South India actor Nitin Nash and Farnaz Shetty from Mumbai. Police had deputed a security official with the film crew as liaison officer who advised the crew when to travel, where to shoot and when to leave. “We had to get up early in the morning and get going by 3.30 AM. We never travelled during the day,” said Shetty. “But the hospitality of people has been exemplary.”
Shetty said that given the situation, both Kashmiris as well as outsiders are frightened. “Media too has exaggerated the situation. People living here are scared and we outsiders coming to Kashmir also feel scared,” she said.
“People live here amidst a lot of restrictions but still they are so warm and hospitable. I never felt more secure here than anywhere else.”
“I heard a lot about clashes but personally we never saw such things” she added.
The lead actor Nitin Nash was amazed at the knowledge of people. “Wherever we went people used to visit us and they knew a lot about South Indian movies and actors, that was really surprising,” said Nash
The movie is likely to be released in three languages in January. Kumar is also the music composer of the movie featuring seven songs.