A Letter To Bollywood
Stop stereotyping Kashmir, a Kashmiri fan tells the Hindi film industry
I am aware that you are not doing well for a while, which is why you now prefer to refer to yourself as the "Indian film industry." Some critics claim that you are doing this to please the south Indian film industry because it is flourishing nationally.
I know that is not true and renaming is currently not a top priority for you since renaming a disease does not cure it. Right now, all of your attention is on how to quickly recover. For that, I learned, you are attempting to lessen the errors you have been making over the past three to four years.
You have become aware that superstars are not delivering and launching star kids is not working. Remakes are also not reassuring. I appreciate that you are working to solve these issues to restore Bollywood to its former glory. However, I also request a few other minor adjustments as a Kashmiri fan.
Stop stereotyping Kashmir and Kashmiris.
Kashmir in Bollywood is a depiction of either hell or heaven. Either picturesque Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Mughal Gardens or volatile Downtown streets. But there are many shades of other realities in between. Have you been to our villages? They are both beautiful and volatile. They look beautiful in the morning and volatile in the evening.
Next time when you plan to visit Kashmir, make sure you visit our villages and attend a wedding. Don't worry you don't need an invitation because, unlike your parties, our village weddings are small festivals. Traditional, colourful and full of love. You can't tell who is the guest and who is the host. The entire village becomes a host when the groom comes to take her bride. And for the first seven days, the entire village of the groom one by one visits the bride to have a chat with her to make her feel at home.
I know this revelation brought a smile to your face because till now all you only know about our weddings was the 'Bumbro Bumbro' song. So don't be surprised to see us singing other songs from Arijit Singh to Charlie Puth and Neha Kakkar to Billie Eilish.
On your visit, I want you to dedicate one of your entire evenings to our village shops. You will get some of your basic ingredients like gossip and masala. Our village shops in the evening become our bars where we gather to share, rejoice, and lament. Please don’t just pass by the shop. Sit, listen, feel and celebrate or mourn with us if you will.
Also, why do you celebrate pine and mourn Chinar? I am cordially inviting you to visit our walnut orchards when you recover properly. Our walnut trees are caught between pine and Chinar. They look greener than the grass in spring, and dead like a desert in winter.
Your stories need to take a lesson from their transition from life to death to life again. We respect pine, Chinar and walnut trees equally and would love to see you resting under the shades of all three.
By the way, did you notice Chinar starts with a capital letter and pine with a small. Because mourning weighs bigger than celebration.
Enough about us. How is your recovery now? I know you are pinning all your hopes on Pathan. But you should try to adjust parallel cinema with mainstream cinema. It will help you get better quickly.
Because If mainstream cinema is like Wazwaan, parallel cinema is like Haak. It is healthy and doesn’t cost much. But wait, you don’t know what Haak is, right? You only had Wazwaan, Harissa and Kehwa in all your films on Kashmir. Oh, Bollywood! please get real, have Haak and be healthy. Haak will ward off evil eyes and bad luck.
As I am writing this, I fear you know nothing about us. Why do you see kohl in every Kashmiri man's eyes? Yes, we do use kohl but we also wear branded sunglasses not to hide the kohl but to cover our binge-induced dark circles. We also have a knack for quickly distinguishing between genuine products and knockoffs. You should acquire that skill from us while choosing your scripts.
We choose what we wear and how we look on a daily basis. We don’t wear Pherans and shawls all the time. We wear all types of clothes from all sorts of brands. We know who Manish Malhotra is and what “Who are you wearing today?” mean.
But at the same time, unlike you, we are so particular about the alteration that we openly discuss whether we should change the designs of Pherans or not. Because remixes and remakes only work when done with sincerity. I hope you got my point.
But why am I giving you these lessons? You might not get it in the first place because of my accent. None of your actors so far have even come close to delivering the perfect Kashmiri accent. Not that you care but the fake Kashmir accent sounds demeaning to us.
Why don’t you try Kashmiri actors instead? Invest in talent and not in names. I guarantee you That the investment will pay all your bills in the future. But for now, you should not be thinking and worried about the future. Like Kashmir, your present is your problem. I pray for your speedy recovery. Get well soon, dear Bollywood.
A Kashmiri fan