Northwest Film Forum, October 6th, 8pm
91 mins || Kashmiri / Urdu || India || 2017
A young Kashmiri woman, Neela is enjoying her new marriage. Her doting husband Khalid has welcomed her little brother Zakir into their home. But outside their walls, the Kargil War of 1999 rages, and suddenly Khalid is kidnapped by paramilitary forces in the middle of the night. So begins Neela’s journey as a half-widow, held in limbo without her husband and unable to start a new life. The search for Khalid consumes her. Times passes, as does the war, and yet still Neela learns nothing. Her sorrow becomes a shackle and apathy for life settles in. Neela’s sense of self is all but lost, consumed with the fact she is without her husband, a man she loved. But after Zakir is arrested defending her from police, a new light of hope flickers as she recognizes the importance of family sacrifice, igniting inside her a new quest for meaning and fulfillment. (Synopsis courtesy of SIFF)
Danish Renzu grew up in the conflict driven valley of Kashmir where he lived through frequent bombings, shutdowns and abuse of human rights; he realized early in life that true solution lies in investing our energies toward personal development, education and community growth.
His first independent short film In Search of America Inshallah, a story about a Pakistani woman in search of her disappeared husband, shot in Los Angeles, was received well throughout the world in various film festivals including recognition at Cannes, CAAM, Asians on Film Festival, Noor Iranian Film Festival, and various other film festivals. His second film First Love, about a South Asian woman finding her muse, premiered at the prestigious New York Indian Film Festival in 2015 and then was picked under Official Short Film Competition at London South Asian Film Festival. The Illegalis currently in post-production and stars Suraj Sharma, Adil Hussein, Shweta Tripathy, Neelima Azim and Iqbal Theba in lead roles.