Filmmaker, Vidhu Vinod Chopra has been facing fire ever since the release of Shikara, a controversial, insensitive movie supposedly intended to sooth the agony of Kashmiri Pandits.
The movie not only sidesteps the sufferings of the Kashmiri Pandits, but also attempts to legitimise the horrors perpetrated by the terrorists that once occupied the Valley, under the garb of state persecution.
The movie has naturally failed to make a mark at the box office and what compounds Chopra’s troubles is the fact that the movie has landed the filmmaker in big trouble as he continues to draw flak for downplaying and somewhat legitimising the persecution of Kashmiri Pandits.
Unable to fathom the failure of ‘Shikara’, the filmmaker has now tried to argue that the movie was actually never supposed to be a commercial success. He has also made controversial, crass remarks about those criticising the insensitive movie.
Chopra said, “‘3 Idiots’, which I produced earned Rs 33 crore on its first day of release, and we knew the first day collection of ‘Shikara’ will be 30 lakh. Despite that we gave 11 years of our life to make this film. I feel today things are very funny because I’ve made films that collected Rs 30 crore on its first day, and when I make a film that collects Rs 30 lakh on its first day in the memory of my mother, people say I have commercialised the pain of Kashmiri people. I feel people who think that way are gadhe (donkeys), and that’s why I want to tell you, don’t be donkeys. First see the film and then form your opinions.”
In order to vindicate himself further, he added, “This film opened with great reviews everywhere. I presume you would have heard about a man called James Cameron who has directed ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’. He called this film as a masterpiece in a four-page letter. In India, the film released to full houses and great reviews. Then, suddenly all this hate wave comes up.”
It is clear that Chopra has understood that an attempt to legitimise the plight of Kashmiri Pandits has backfired badly.
Now, in order to save his face he is trying to claim that the movie was not a commercial venture in the first place and those accusing him of commercialising the pain of Kashmiri people are “donkeys”.
The outrage against ‘Shikara’ seems to have really come as a rude awakening for Chopra who had also produced and directed ‘Mission Kashmir’ which released in the year 2000.
‘Mission Kashmir’ too had a similar plot. But at that time the audience was not as evolved and probing as it is today. The movie thus managed to succeed at the Box Office.
But times have changed and the audience saw through the hidden agenda of ‘Shikara’, the biggest reason behind its dismal performance. And Vidhu Vinod Chopra seems unable to digest this fact. This is why he has gone bonkers, making crass remarks against those criticising his bizarre work, ‘Shikara’.