Fundamentalists cause communal conflict not believers: Filmmaker Aijaz Khan

Aijaz says while he has full faith in the religion, the way fundamentalists hijack the God bothers him.

Press Trust of India
Dharamshala, Publish Date: Nov 3 2018 4:42PM | Updated Date: Nov 3 2018 4:42PM
Fundamentalists cause communal conflict not believers: Filmmaker Aijaz KhanFundamentalists cause communal conflict not believers: Filmmaker Aijaz Khan

Filmmaker Aijaz Khan, whose next feature "Hamid" is about an eight-year-old boy and his desire to speak to God, says fundamentalists not the believers are the reason for the communal conflict in the world.

Set in Kashmir, "Hamid" revolves around the little boy, Hamid, whose father has gone missing and according to his mother he has gone to Allah. When his teacher tells him that 786 is God's number, he decides to call God with his father's old mobile phone. He gets in touch with Abhay, a CRPF officer, and the two unknowingly change each other's lives.

Aijaz says while he has full faith in the religion, the way fundamentalists hijack the God bothers him.

"I have full faith in religion. I practise my religion and I am proud of it. I wish I could speak to the God. Communal conflict doesn't happen because of the belief in the God. It happens because of the fundamentalists and they are in every religion and they cause problem.

"I wish there were a few people who had called me and had said 'How can you let a man say he is God? That's blasphemy.' I would have said there is nothing like that," the director told PTI on the sidelines of the ongoing Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF).

"Hamid", which received rave reviews at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, is the closing film at DIFF.

Aijaz says the idea of the film came to him after he was introduced to a play titled '786' and the initial plot was to connect the boy with a Kashmiri Pandit, but considering the current scenario in the Valley, they decided to keep CRPF officer.

"The idea had Kashmiri Pandit because that was an issue which has been going on in Kashmir since '90s. I wanted to get that Hindu-Muslim angle. We build that up but then realised it was an older issue. Today the issue is CRPF. If you speak to any Kashmiri they say they want freedom. It is a very intimidating atmosphere to be in," he adds.

While the film touches upon two sensitive topics God and Kashmir Aijaz says there was no other place he could have based the story in as the location plays a significant role in the movie.

"God and Kashmir both are very sensitive issues. Especially when you are talking about the Islamic way. As far as Kashmir is concerned, it is such a beautiful place. There was no other way I could have made this film. I couldn't think of building it anywhere else.

"It is a story idea set in Kashmir and it has to be there. It was the only way I could have pulled it off. I don't know if some controversy will happen." 

The crew, however, faced some troubles while filming in the valley, which Aijaz says is full of beautiful locations and gentle people.

"Kashmiris are such nice human beings they are very sweet and welcoming. But nevertheless there are people who want to create problems. So there were days where we were pelted stones. The entire unit would run away as soon as we would hear the noise of stones falling on our roofs." 

Following the screening at DIFF, the director says they are planning to screen the film in various parts of Kashmir.

"I would prefer a digital release over theatrical because the film will have a long run on digital platform. In theatres it will not stay more than a week," he adds.

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