DIFF Daily 2010

Director of “Autumn” - Aamir Bashir

Dec 18,2010 - 01:05 PM

Director Aamir Bashir is all too aware about the dangers and challenges of making a film about Kashmir. The disputed territory has triggered wars between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, and he says, as is so often the case with regions under conflict, the general narrative neglects the stories of the affected people.
‘Few films are made about the people of Kashmir, simply because it’s such a delicate subject. Someone is bound to get offended, but as a filmmaker and as someone from Kashmir, I felt a sense of urgency to bring out the voices and faces of its people,’ says Bashir, the director of ‘Autumn’, which screened at DIFF and is competing in the Muhr AsiaAfrica Feature competition.
Filmed with the muted, earthy tones of autumn flooding the screen with soft natural energy and light, Bashir says he consciously steered clear of the Bollywood stereotype of focussing on Kashmir’s stunning natural landscapes, and preferred to let it function strictly as a backdrop. ‘Autumn is the current state of mind of the people of Kashmir. It’s in a state of decay and decline.’
Bashir, who is also an accomplished actor in Indian cinema, already has the initial idea in place for his follow-up to ‘Autumn’, which he’s decided to call ‘Winter’. ‘The sequel, so to speak, is about Kashmir from a woman’s perspective. It’s still in the scripting stage.’
The director says it’s important to capture the mood that currently prevails amongst young Kashmiris, who have grown up in the last 20 years in a state with a permanent army presence, and feel as if they have no voice. ‘Protests in recent years have been extremely savvy, where the people have resorted to mass marches and other means of being heard, instead of guns, which is what they’re traditionally associated with.’

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