There Was a Queen
(Kavita Pai and Hansa Thapliyal, 2007, India, Kashmiri / Urdu with English subtitles, 124 minutes, MiniDV )
This two-hour documentary highlights the women’s initiatives in Kashmir’s 17-year conflict in which women have been the worst sufferers. From looking into the brave fight many women have put up, to the efforts of others who joined empowerment avenues, the film primarily stresses how the brunt of the struggle is faced by women, as mother, daughter, sister or wife. Fahana’s sister Shahnaza, and her friend Ulfat, victims of ‘crossfire’ would have been adult women today – when they died they were seventeen, as old as Tehreek, that exploded into existence in 1989, shattering forever the peace of the Valley, turning it into one of the most critical conflict zones in the world.
Kavita Pai is a documentary filmmaker who lives and works in Mumbai. This is her first full length documentary. Hansa Thapliyal is a Mumbai-based short and documentary filmmaker. She has been keenly involved in the setting up of Godaam, an archive on Mumbai and Kashmir, at the Majlis Cultural centre. The two film makers started this film looking for peace initiatives in the conflict-torn region of Kashmir. This search took them to different parts of Kashmir where the women – young and old, eager speak about the life under siege – told them how difficult it was for them to think of ‘ Peace’.
Saturday, Oct. 6, 2007, 6 PM