By ARPITA BANERJEE
DEHRADUN, 14 Mar: The release of the film, ‘The Kashmir Files’, has taken the nation by storm. Vivek Agnihotri’s latest film has become the talk of the town for all the right reasons. The story line of the film is based on video interviews of the first generation victims of the Genocide of the Kashmiri Pandit Community in 1990. The film stars Mithun Chakraborty, Anupam Kher, Puneet Issar, Darshan Kumaar and Pallavi Joshi in key roles. Yes, it is a moment of delight for the entire nation as the film fraternity has produced such a masterpiece. But, for every Uttarakhandi, this film holds a special place. A majority of the film’s storyline has been shot in areas of Dehradun and Mussoorie. Gandhi Chowk in Mussoorie is depicted as Kashmir’s famous Lal Chowk. A chunk of the film was also shot in Hotel Savoy. Also, many Dehradun based actors played a prominent role in the film of such a grand stature.
Karan Pandit played by actor Amaan Iqbal
Amaan Iqbal is a 28 year old thespian who moved from Lucknow to Dehradun during his college days and continued working in theatre as an actor and director. After doing multiple shows and workshops across India, Amaan shifted to Mumbai for greater opportunities. He then worked in the casting team of more than 10 Bollywood movies. He continues to act in selected films which are unconventional and content driven. He also casted for ‘The Kashmir Files’. “When I first met the director, it was a formal meeting to discuss the casting that he wanted from me. He later told me the sensitivity and challenges of the subject,” revealed Amaan when we spoke to him. “Later, he offered me the character of ‘Karan Pandit’, who is son of one protagonist (Anupam Kher) and father of the other protagonist (Darshan Kumaar) and somewhere makes a chain in the story. The length of the character’s role was short but important. He also informed me that the movie belongs to clash between two communities so it could be controversial. This all made me more interested to be a part of the film because it was about a very dark yet important chapter of our Nation’s history. I loved the approach, effort and style of Vivek Agnihotri’s filmmaking.” “Pallavi Joshi also contributed to the film from behind and in front of the camera. I wish the film touches greater heights and popularity,” added Amaan.
Sqd Ldr Shaheed Ravi Khanna played by actor Navneet Gairola
Navneet has been doing amateur theatre in Dehradun since 1996 and has played the central character in more than 20 plays. His Cinema exposure includes working with Directors like Tigmanshu Dhulia in ‘Paan Singh Tomar’, ‘Raag Desh’ and ‘Yaara’, with Sharat Kataria in ‘Dum Lagaa ke Haisha’, Harshwardhan Kulkarni in ‘Badhai Do’, Omang Kumar in ‘PM Modi’. A few of his upcoming projects include an important role in a Netflix Series directed by Bhav Dhulia and in another film starring Kunal Khemu. “Working with a fearless and genius director like Vivek Agnihotri in ‘The Kashmir Files’ was an amazing experience,” says Navneet. “The film becoming an anthem gives one utmost satisfaction as an actor.” Gairola teaches Mass Communication at Graphic Era Hill University and is also incharge of its community radio, ‘Radio Zindagi’. He thanked Vivek Agnihotri for casting him as Squadron Leader Martyr Ravi Khanna in such a historic film and said that it was an honour to play such an important character in the film. “The Kashmir Files is a film made with utmost dedication and honesty and every Indian must watch this masterpiece,” he added.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed played by Atul Vishnoi
Atul has been a theatre artist since class 11. Then he actively participated in local theatre groups. He has previously worked in the Bollywood film, ‘Batti Gul Meter Chalu’. His upcoming projects include ‘The Forensic’ alongside Radhika Apte and Vikrant Massey. He is a professional voice-over artist. Atul recalls how happy he was when he got selected for ‘The Kashmir Files’. He got to share screen with Anupam Kher and Mithun, which was a dream come true for him. The entire unit was an absolute delight to work with. Atul’s role in the movie was shot in Dehradun itself.
Maulvi played by Bhupendra Taneja
The 60 year-old Bhupendra has vast experience in the field of acting. He started with theatre then acted in several Bollywood, Hollywood and regional movies. Bhupendra really liked the concept of the film. He is glad to have contributed to the film mainly because the subject of the film fascinated him. Bhupendra has played a negative role in ‘The Kashmir Files’. He was satisfied with the entire film unit. He praised the film’s director, too.
Other local actors include Tanmay Lohani, Abhinav Sharma, Abhimanyu Maindola, Chahat Rajawat, Mitali Punetha, Swarnim Sethi, Arya Bhatt amongst others. Child actor Abhimanyu is the son of actor couple Abhishek Maindola and Kusum Pant.