A tale like Lamhaa would have required you to involve yourself in wide spread research, isn"t it?
I know of this whole section there which is formed by 10,000 odd people who are parents of people who have disappeared. Can you believe that? No one knows what happened to them. One needs to bring this fact into notice. There are atrocities by leaders, separatists and armed forces which affect the common man most. The question which we have asked in the film is – 'Why did an individual become a militant?" After all there is a thin line between a freedom fighter and a militant.
I am sure that making a film like this would have brought enough drama into your life as well.
(Laughs) Yes, there was enough drama; in fact much more than what I would have wanted to handle. I remember meeting an ex-militant who was released after being in jail for 16 years. I had gone to his house and was shocked to see that even now he carried an AK 47. He was boasting about having killed 300 people and was bashing India left, right and centre. At the end of my interview, he asked me, 'Aap hindustan wapas kab jaa rahe ho". I was surprised with this entire differentiation between Kashmir and India but couldn"t say anything. He had a gun and he could have shot me point blank.
So what did you do?
Kya karta? I just smiled and said that 'shayad aapke liye ye hindustan nahi hai lekin mere liye hain". I don"t know how I said even this but I was very nervous for the seconds that followed after that. To my good luck, he didn"t get agitated and said after a pause, 'Khaana kha ke hi jaayiega".
And did you stay back?
No ways, I just rushed out and thanked God for being alive. (smiles)