By Saqib Mugloo
Srinagar: Bollywood filmmaker Subhash Ghai said on Sunday that the presence of a high number of soldiers in a region meant that the people of that region were “not good.”
Ghai was speaking to the press at a conference organised by the Great Indian Film and Literature Festival that is scheduled to be held in Srinagar from July 22 to July 24. The organisers had invited Ghai to interact with the media about concerns of filmmakers over shooting in Kashmir.
At the beginning of the press conference, Ghai said that he would not reply to questions related to politics. But on being asked whether security issues had come in the way of film shooting in Kashmir, he said that the atmosphere of fear and insecurity was certainly responsible, for if the “people in a place were good, there was no reason for the presence of so many security forces there”.
Ghai said he was hopeful of a revival in filmmaking in the Valley and said he was working on a script for which he would soon start shooting in Kashmir.
“Conditions have improved here. They are similar to the days when I shot the movie Karma (early 1980s). I am looking forward to shoot a movie here soon,” he said.
Ghai called attention to the lack of cinema theatres in Kashmir. He said he had requested the ministry of culture and tourism to set up theatres here. “I am sad that there are no theatres in Kashmir. It is through the medium of cinema that people will get to know what Kashmiris are and what they want,” the veteran filmmaker said.
Ghai was asked if he would provide scholarships to Kashmiri students at his Whistling Woods film school, to which he replied that he was ready to provide all help and could even set up a film institute in Kashmir.
At the press conference, the film festival’s co-founder, Amit Sinha, said that the festival would be apolitical in its scope.
“A total of 52 short films will be screened in the span of three days. Writers and directors like Anjum Rajabali and John Mathew Mathan will be part of the festival. Workshops on filmmaking and script-writing will be held. A separate section for Kashmiri movies would be provided,” Sinha said.
The Great Indian Film and Literature Festival (GIFLIF) is a brainchild of White Walls Media that organised its first film festival in Gurgaon in 2015.