The recently released teaser of the upcoming movie Half Widow has taken Kashmir by storm. It seems to have revived the old wounds of families whose near and dear ones disappeared during the past around thirty years of armed conflict.
In the restive Valley, Half Widow is a term used for a woman whose husband disappeared, allegedly at the hands of government forces or militants, never to be traced out. The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, a voluntary forum fighting for the cause to know whereabouts of such people puts the number of disappeared between 1989 and 2006 at anywhere between 8000-10,000. A majority of those disappeared had no connection with the armed opposition groups operating in Kashmir. The Half Widow movie narrates a similar story of human pain.
This bilingual film in Urdu and Kashmiri is a product of joint efforts, mainly by Kashmiri Muslim and Pandits belonging to the field of art and filmmaking.
The 96-minute movie, directed by Kashmir filmmaker Danish Renzu, is a presentation of Rock on Motion Pictures. Danish, who is settled in the US, has co-produced the picture along with his counterpart Gaya Bhola. The duo has jointly written the screenplay as well.
The lyrics and dialogues, on the other hand, have been written by techie and prominent writer Sunayana Kachroo, a Kashmiri pandit migrant woman actually hailing from Hyderpora area of Srinagar, now mostly living abroad with her family.
The star cast comprises mainly of Kashmiri artists including Neelofar Hamid, Mir Sarwar and Shahnawaz Bhat. The only non-Kashmiri actor is a foreigner, Rhonda Leal.
As per the filmmakers, “Half Widow is a breathtaking tale of a Kashmiri woman whose happy life takes a drastic turn as her husband is made to disappear and her brother loves and protects her in her struggle as a half-widow. The film was shot in Kashmir in its entirety with local cast and crew.”
While the movie is ready for release, the filmmakers plan for its international premiere in the US.
Actor Mir Sarwar, who is playing the lead actor and has worked in some Bollywood blockbusters like Bajrangi Bhaijaan, says Half Widow revolves around the story of a Kashmiri girl who gets married to a common man who disappears one fine day. “The film is close to the heart of every Kashmiri as it shows the unending struggle of a Half Widow.”
The filmmakers says “this film will bring about the change in Kashmir by supporting talent in the valley, and also representing the true solution to the unending pain and conflict in the valley through a character driven narrative evoking humanity and love.”