Where once the guns blazed

NEW DELHI, May 18: The land of incomparable scenic beauty and snow, and of memories of the last Indo-Pak conflagration, Kargil is now opening its arms to a first of its kind film festival that will speak about people of little known territories and their seldom talked about issues.
‘Awam Ka Cinema’, a movement of grassroot cinema that started from Ayodhya in 2006, is taking its caravan of stories to the high altitude Ladakh territory for a two-day film festival starting tomorrow.
While most Indians associate Kargil with little more than the 1999 conflict, the people associated with the movement want to redefine the image of the border region.
“Some remarkable and meaningful films will be showcased during the festival. This film festival will prove to be an unusual gift for the people of Ladakh,” an organiser from the Kargil Film Society said.
The screening list for the festival includes 21 short films—documentaries, fiction as well as two animations—that will be showcased at the Indoor Stadium Hall in Kargil over the next two days.
The aim of the festival is to reach out to the people of the area, which is cut off from the outside world for six months because of snow, and establish a link for regular exchanges and sharing of ideas.
The group believes that meaningful cinema which focuses on social issues has relatively limited audience which is often scattered in different areas, making it difficult for filmmakers who chose to make such films to reach out to their audience.
For this reason, the organisers hold film festivals in smaller cities and regions. Even the contributors are budding film makers who do not get exposure in larger festivals.
The concept of what they call the ‘Awam ka cinema’ emerged in 2004 when a bunch of like-minded people got together to start screenings of documentaries and films on social issues in the twin cities of Ayodhya and Faizabad.
In 2006, the group formed their society, which has so far held similar film festivals in Delhi, Mau, Jaipur, Auriya and other areas of Kashmir.
The Kargil Film Festival will effectively be the first such cultural event of this kind in the Ladakh region.
“The festival will also be an opportunity for the people from other states to enjoy good cinema in the midst of peaceful environment and scenic beauty of Ladakh,” an organiser said.
The films that are showcased are about social and human issues and highlight the need for peace, harmony and democratic rights. (PTI)

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