Aamir Bashir’s ‘Harud’ in competition section at Dubai fest

By Dibyojyoti Baksi, IANS
Monday, December 13, 2010

DUBAI - The directorial debut of actor Aamir Bashir’s “Harud” is competing for Muhr Asia Africa awards at the seventh edition of Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) and the director says festivals are the only way to reach a wider audience.

“This is the only Indian feature film that is in the competition for Muhr Asia Africa awards here. The first run has been good so far, let’s see how far we can take it,” Bashir told IANS in an interview here.

The actor-director, who is from Kashmir, wielded the megaphone to tell the story of Rafiq, who is struggling to come to terms with the loss of his elder brother Tauqir, a tourist photographer. The film shows Tauqir as one of the thousands young men who disappeared since the onset of insurgency in the valley.

After an unsuccessful attempt to cross the border and reach Pakistan to become a militant, Rafiq returns home to an aimless existence.

“Harud” (Autumn) is competing with 16 other films from across the world. Bashir says he chose the festival circuit to reach to a much wider audience.

“For a film like this, it is difficult to find distributors… this is my way of reaching a wider audience. You can reach to the masses only if you are marketing the film properly. In my case, if I release the film in the metros with 10 or 15 prints, the number of people who will see it would be much less than those who see it in festivals.”

“Everywhere there would be audiences from different nationalities that won’t have knowledge about Kashmir. So, for me, festivals provide a wider audience. Of course, there are no monetary returns. As a first time filmmaker, this is the only way I can show it to more people,” said Bashir.

Bashir maintains that though he hasn’t lived in Kashmir in the last 20 years, he knows the place much better through his friends and those who are struggling even today.

“I have not tried to tell the story sentimentally at all. But the point is this is the story I know best because I am personally and emotionally affected. Though I have not lived in Kashmir in the last 20 years, my family is there, connections are there. This is the story I know well enough,” said Bashir.

Bashir is looking forward to release the film commercially some time next year.

Among other Indian films, short film “Khule Darwaze” (”Open Doors”) by debutant director Ashish Pandey and documentary “Inshallah, Football” by Ashvin Kumar will be screened in the Muhr Asia Africa category.

The line-up of other Indian movies at the gala include Malayalam director Shyamaprasad Rajagopal’s “Elektra”, Bengali filmmaker Aparna Sen’s “Iti Mrinalini”, Telugu filmmakers Krishna DK and Raj Nidimoru’s “Shor” and Tamil director Prabhu Solomon’s “Mynaa”.

The eight-day festival started Sunday and it will conclude Dec 19.

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