Half Widow: Not Pakistan, not India, but the world through Kashmir’s eyes

Published: June 21, 2017

Throughout history, cinema has functioned as a voice against oppression. Be it films such as Mississippi Burning or Fruitvale Station that highlight racism in the US past and present, or films such as Schindler’s List and Life is Beautiful which focus on the Holocaust and the oppression of Jews during World War II. The Battle of Algiers is yet another movie which focuses on the oppression of the Algerian people by the French, and their subsequent struggle for independence.

Photo: Facebook

Cinema has always played an important role in connecting the viewer with these moving stories.

Kashmiri filmmaker Danish Renzu aims to do something similar with his latest film, Half Widow. Though he doesn’t have the same level of financing, distribution or exposure most films and their filmmakers have, his focus revolves around relating an important story about human pain, humanity and most importantly, Kashmir.

The story in question is about Kashmiri women whose husbands have disappeared at the hands of the Indian government forces between 1989 and 2006. The number, which is anywhere around 8,000 and 10,000, consists of Kashmiris, many of whom were part of a militant uprising against Indian oppression. However, the majority of these Kashmiris had no connection with armed opposition groups.

Photo: Facebook

And perhaps the saddest aspect about this story is that it’s the women who are the silent sufferers and the term ‘half widow’ is used for them because they still have no idea whether their husbands are dead or alive.

It will be interesting to see how the subject matter is handled. More importantly, I’m intrigued to see how the movie portrays a Kashmiri perspective rather than a Pakistani or an Indian one. The conflict in Kashmir has always had a profound impact on Kashmiris and its high time their stories made it to the big screen and their artists got the same respect and recognition other artists usually get.

Renzu, who was born in Srinagar but received his education from the University of California, is extremely interested in bringing Kashmiri stories to the big screen. He has already produced several short films about social acceptance such as In Search of America, Inshallah and The Virtual. Half Widow will be his feature film debut. He is already working on two more films, Pashmina, which also focuses on a Kashmir-based narrative, and The Illegal.

Photo: IMDb

Renzu has also been focusing on recruiting Kashmiri talent for the film, which may give it more of an authentic feel. His entire cast and crew comprises mainly of Kashmiri artists.

The film does not have a release date as yet, but it is supposed to come out sometime in 2017, with the filmmakers eyeing an international premiere in the US.

Khalid Rafi

Khalid Rafi

The author is an aspiring writer and a passionate lover and supporter of Pakistan Cricket. He blops at The Blazing Reel. (www.theblazingreel.wordpress.com) and tweets as @TheKhalidRafi

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Idon’tlistentoidiots

    yes noRecommend

  • Yogi Berra

    It will be a flop show. No one is interestEdRecommend

  • Srikant Mahapatra

    What about killing of Kashmir is by the militant. What about the stone pelted. What about killing of Kashmir Pandit. What about killing of 6 civilian and Kashmir police recently. Who killed them. Was it Indian Army. This film is a bios one.Recommend

  • Deepak

    There are also half widows in Baluchistan also, did you bother to make movie about that issue .?Recommend

  • Sane

    You live in stone age, when access to information was almost nil.Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    Why not make a drama on Hindu girls forcibly kidnapped and converted and married off?Recommend

  • Nahid Hussain Chohan

    What about, what about etc. Brother Kashmiri’s have genuine grievances. What is true is that the status quo cannot carry on forever. Please address them by talking to them. No human life is worth losing.Recommend

  • Nahid Hussain Chohan

    Deepak your comments on Balochistan are commendable as is your concern for it. I know something about it as my father served in the Baloch regiment. You know nothing about it. It is not disputed territory with no UN resolution compared to Kashmir. How far do you live from Kashmir?Recommend

  • Nahid Hussain Chohan

    Why not, It is a terrible thing to happen to a person and their family. A point to note is that you cannot convert anyone forcefully. Kidnapping and forced to marry is illegal and should be condemned in the strongest language possibleRecommend

  • Nahid Hussain Chohan

    Sane I agree. Rohan I wonder how far you live from IOK and as for Pak Administered Kashmir I can assure you is no different form the rest of Pakistan. My family live in Gujar Khan which has a boarder with AJK. Trust me we look the same, speak Potohari, intermarry etc. You have the knowledge of the world at you finger tips. All you have to do is look with an open mind. You will I hope find there is no comparison between the two parts of Kashmir. Talk to Kashmiri’s from both parts and decide yourself but be honest with yourself.Recommend

  • Nahid Hussain Chohan

    It may well be, but how do you know? Have you done market research or is a case of wishful thinking. Putting your head in the sand will not make the problem go away.Recommend

  • Rohan

    Living in Stone Age is still better than living in PakistanRecommend

  • ab

    your son kalbushan Yadav being the main lead.Recommend

  • Nimra

    For the people who have started comparing hindu and balochi girls, kindly understand that when an issue is raised by some individual, it doesnt mean that he/she means to belittle other problems. Stop being idiotic and start doing something yourself rather than asking the one who is already doing what he can in his/her capacity while you are sitting on your couch comfortably.Recommend