‘Welcome to Kashmir’ to be released in March

Cast & Crew members of film posing for photograph in Srinagar. — Excelsior/Aabid Nabi
Cast & Crew members of film posing for photograph in Srinagar. — Excelsior/Aabid Nabi

Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar, Jan 22: The debut Bollywood film by Kashmiris, ‘Welcome to Kashmir’, which will star all Kashmiris in the lead roles, will be released in March this year.
This will be the first Bollywood film in which Kashmiris are handling all aspects of production, including writing, directing, and playing all of the lead roles, in an effort to present an authentic representation of the area that the director feels is frequently lacking in other films.
“The other Bollywood directors are filming in Kashmir and putting out Rs 100 crore movies, but every single one of them paints Kashmir and Kashmiris in a negative light,” Tariq Ahmad, Director of the Film, told Excelsior.
He said that the bulk of movies created on or in Kashmir depict Kashmiris as either terrorists or stone throwers, which paints a dismal picture of the region and its residents. “Even though the majority of Kashmiris are worried about concerns like drug addiction and unemployment, only a small fraction of people may be involved in such acts,” he said.
Young filmmaker, Tariq from Sopore town in North Kashmir has produced a number of films while working in Bollywood over the past ten years. The film was written by him as well as produced by his production company, Filmstock Creations.
Tariq said that the movie is the first of its kind to have an almost entirely Kashmiri cast, despite the fact that it is a Bollywood Hindi feature film on women’s empowerment, drug usage among Kashmiri youth, and the genuine nature of people.
Mateena Rajput, the female lead, is a model and actress who has starred in numerous tourism advertisements. Ahmad Shahab, the male lead, is a Srinagar resident who has acted in numerous music videos in addition to modeling.
The protagonist of the movie is a brave young woman who dedicates her life to promoting women’s rights and battling for gender equality. Her goal is to visit every college and female-only institution in the country, motivate the girls with her speeches, and advise them on safety. Although she continuously believes that women are more resilient than men, she finally succumbs because she is so easily defeated.