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Bunty Walia advised not to screen Lamhaa in Kashmir

Still from Lamhaa
The volatile situation in Kashmir has created a strange and difficult problem for Lamhaa. The film based on the problem of Kashmiri militancy is all set for release on July 16.

Much as the director Rahul Dholakia wants to take the hard-hitting political drama for its initial screening into the Valley, there is no way he can do so for the simple reason that there are no proper and operational movie theatres in Kashmir.

And Rahul is at his wit's end. "Lamhaa was made for the people of Kashmir. It's about their life, their anguish and their politics. How can I not show it to the people of Kashmir? The film belongs to them. It is unimaginable for me that the rest of the world would watch Lamhaa and not the Kashmiris."

Dholakia now plans to take the print and projection equipment and screen the film at key centres of Jammu & Kashmir on his own. "There's no option but to follow an unconventional method to get the film screened in the Valley."

Although several situations and characters in Lamhaa are based on real Kashimiri politics, the film's makers have been advised to play down the reality card. Apparently, producer Bunty Walia and leading man Sanjay Dutt have been told by their school- mate Omar Abdullah not to play up the Kashmiri card. A hush-hush screening of Lahmaa is being planned for father and son Farooq and Omar Abdullah.

Says Rahul Dholakia, "It isn't as though I'm playing down or distancing myself from the reality of the Valley. But considering the volatile situation it's better not to get any section of Indian politics hostile about our film."

To de-accentuate the political side the film, the producer now plans various glamour events connected with Lamhaa including a fashion show featuring Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu, Kunal Kapoor and Anupam Kher at the forthcoming IIFA awards in Colombo. The actors in Kashmiri attire will walk the ramp with India's top models. Dholakia hopes that by glamorizing Lamhaa they're not downsizing the film's powerful message about peace in the Valley.

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