Love in paradise

Debarati Palit Singh
Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Soni Razdan, who plays an important role in No Fathers in Kashmir, talks about the film, the situation in the Valley and daughter Alia

After eight months of long wait, National Award-winning director Ashvin Kumar is releasing his film, No Fathers in Kashmir on April 5. The film was stuck because the censor board insisted on giving it only an A certificate due to its subject. After several attempts and support from the star cast and several members of the film industry, the film has finally got a U/A certificate. 

Soni Razdan, who plays a pivotal role in No Fathers in Kashmir, says that it’s not a political film but a love story. “It’s about the love story of two 16-year-olds who are in search of their fathers who have gone missing,” she says. 

No Fathers in Kashmir is a beautifully written script which was the primary reason why she signed the film. “Ashvin really knows Kashmir very well. For the first time I felt that here is a director who knows the place very well and is being honest about it. At the same time, it is a very entertaining story because it is layered with humour. It is sensitive and very clever,” she says, adding that her role is also nice,” the actor says. 

When asked if it was physically and mentally a tough project to do, Soni replies, “It’s actually a very charming film because it’s a love story. Physically, it was tough because we were shooting in difficult conditions and we shot for long hours. But it was satisfying for me because as an actor, I am looking for roles which are challenging and interesting.”  

The film is creating a lot of buzz on social media, which Soni believes is because of the intriguing title. But isn’t the curiosity also because of the political situation in the state? “People would like to know more about it, given the space of the film. I have been saying this but if you come and watch the film, it will make you think and open your mind about what is going on in Kashmir. It will make you start questioning, which is a good. We just keep hearing or seeing that one story from Kashmir but there are several other stories too. Why is Kashmir called Kashmir? Nobody really knows what’s happening at the ground level and even that is not the true picture,” she says. 

The actor further adds that there is so much that most of us are unaware of. “That’s because media doesn’t put those narratives out there. Maybe they themselves are not aware of the true picture. It’s high time we presented it because whatever is happening in Kashmir is going to affect all of us. It happens to be in a vulnerable geographical position because on one side is China and on the other is Pakistan. So what do we do? We need to resolve their issues,” she says.

Soni believes that we cannot let the situation in Kashmir become worse, “It’s very dangerous for all of us,” she points out.   

Did her outlook towards the situation change after being part of the film, we ask. Soni replies that she already knows a lot about the prevailing situation. “I just became more interested in Kashmir. There is so much fear in people’s mind about the place. They say, ‘Don’t go there. It’s a very dangerous place etc etc’. I was in Kashmir last week and it was absolutely fine and there was nothing to be scared of. On top of that, there are our army soldiers posted at every nook and corner. Personally, I have never felt unsafe.”  

While the makers were taking efforts to get the certification for the film, Soni says they were doing their job of spreading awareness about it. “This film has no big star, Ashvin is not a well-known Bollywood filmmaker. We could have just died a death somewhere and nobody would have known about it. But we tried to make a little noise,” she says. 

The Raazi actress adds that whatever grief the censor board put them through, she still has faith in the system. “After all, it was the system which gave us a U/A certificate and we are now releasing the film. The system is in place but it’s a different thing that they wanted to harass the filmmaker unnecessarily. No Fathers in Kashmir has been made with the best of intentions. I strongly believe that we must not lose faith in our humanity as a country because it is very much there,” she explains. 

As the conversation moves to her daughter, actor Alia Bhatt, Soni says that she is a proud mom. ‘Who wouldn’t be?’ she questions Does she guide Alia when it comes to her career choices? “These days, kids are very sorted. They know what they are doing and they have lot of people (management team) to go to, when it comes to asking for advice. Even if she does, we have an informal chat. We both are very supportive of each other’s work and sometimes we have discussions about things, but not very often. We hardly get time to meet,” she says before signing off.

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