He’s no stranger to India cinema, but over the years he’s been known as a well-formed actor applauded for his meticulous, understated performances. Harud (Autumn) though, is Aamir Bashir’s first attempt at directing. Starring Reza Nahi (from Majid Majidi’s acclaimed, Children of Heaven), the film was produced in 2010 and went on to be screened at countless international film festivals, including the Toronto Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival and the San Francisco International Film Festival (to name a few). Yet, it never got to see the Indian silver screen. Finally, after two solid long years, Harud will be accessible to the Indian audiences under the PVR Director’s Rare banner.
Crafted with rare sincerity and absolute honesty, Harud is a sensitive storytelling of a land that has been left scarred forever — Kashmir. Releasing tomorrow on 27th July, here’s our interview with the first-time filmmaker, whom we had spoken to back in 2010…
The Synopsis Rafiq and his family are struggling to come to terms with the loss of his older brother Tauqir, a tourist photographer, who is one of the thousands of young men who have disappeared, since the onset of the militant insurgency in Kashmir. After an unsuccessful attempt to cross the border into Pakistan, to become a militant, Rafiq returns home to an aimless existence. Until one day when he accidentally finds his brother’s old camera…
The Filmmaker Aamir was born and brought up in Kashmir; he spent his entire childhood in what was at that time a peaceful space. He completed high school and left for Delhi to pursue his studies. And as he spent his years as a student of History and Law, a period of unrest began to cloud over Kashmir, beginning what was soon to become one of the most traumatic scars of our time. He went on to become an actor, he moved to Bombay and started work in film and television (you might recognize him from A Wednesday and Peepli Live). Kashmir didn’t heal, not even close. Caught between being the insider and the outsider, his mind space never really disconnected and he felt a strange urge to engage, excavate and tell his story. His film is neither a business proposition nor an artists’ indulgence, it isn’t scandal or controversy – it is very simply an act of sincere and honest storytelling. Ironically, Kashmir is not a simple subject to talk, comment or even think about because we somewhere get so caught up in the political correctness of perspective on the ongoing trauma. But Aamir manages to swim past the overwhelming political babble and grab onto the voices of individuals caught in a complex time and situation.
The Film ‘There is a generation in Kashmir who has never even seen peace. My story is about the Kashmiri voice that goes unheard because of all the screaming and shouting from both India and Pakistan. I wanted to, in a very small way highlight at least one human voice over all the political discourse, through a tiny slice of life in Kashmir. We usually receive a very political version of what happens, so I wanted to go into the more emotional and individual perspective.’
The Future ‘I already have a couple more ideas. Autumn is just one side of a story there are a thousand more. Most of my dreams are till date set in Kashmir and as of now Kashmir is where I find my stories. So, yes I definitely want to make films now.’_