Interview : Rahul Dholakia




Rahul Dholakia is a National Award winning director but he is not wearing this as an ace up his sleeves. His PARZANIA was an issue based film and so is LAMHAA. However, the film maker has no qualms in admitting that he wanted to tell this story in a hardcore commercial format so that it reaches out to a wider section of audience. No wonder, he roped in actors like Sanjay Dutt and Bipasha while giving LAMHAA a super sleek look so that it finds its target audience. Told in a thriller format, LAMHAA is now up for release and Rahul’s ‘untold story’ about Kashmir is all set to be unveiled. With confidence looming large in his voice, Rahul talks about what made LAMHAA the film it is today.

Your promotion pitches LAMHAA as ‘an untold story of Kashmir’. What exactly is the core of this statement here?
Over the years, what we have heard about Kashmir is a one sided story which comes from a particular viewpoint. In LAMHAA, we have also tried to tell the incidents that have happened in the valley and something which people are not aware about. The film has a lot to do with the daily life of the Kashmiris. And if you ask me, there are enough thrills and drama in their lives practically every day. These are the elements that have formed the shape of characters and story in LAMHAA, something which people may not have seen in the past or perhaps overlooked in totality.

Talk of Kashmir and the thought that comes to mind is – ‘This is going to

“LAMHAA was not meant to be candyfloss cinema.”

be something about militancy’. How has that perception been tackled in LAMHAA?

First of all there is a lot more realism in LAMHAA. I can actually vouch for it and say that it is much more than any other film that we have seen on Kashmir. No, I not taking away from other films but then LAMHAA is more about Kashmir of today and why is it in the state that we are finding it in. I am trying to introspect about it. You tell me, in any of these films have you heard characters in Kashmir saying – ‘Aap Hindustan kab jaa raho hai?’.

No, I haven’t.
Exactly. The issue I am trying to raise is that for people out there, Kashmir is pretty much separated from India. This aspect is the very base of LAMHAA. After all there is a whole generation that has grown up with violence and gun culture because of the presence of the armed forces, security forces and of course militants. For them, the face of India is the armed forces. There is a lot of hate and mistrust that they carry for them and therefore with India as well, though not necessarily Indians. On the other hand for rest of India too, Kashmiris mean militants. So yes, there are various layers to this issue which we have not yet seen.

A story like this could become really grim and depressing. How do you expect audience to digest it all?
Of course LAMHAA was not meant to be candyfloss cinema. But yes, I agree with the point that a real issue like this if presented as is can become dry. It is a challenge to make the plot engaging enough. For this you have to take help from technology so that the film looks like a thriller. You have to work with the shot taking, background score, editing, basically the works. In fact, this is reason why the overall treatment looks different from other Bollywood films. You have to give thrills to the audience.

And some star value….
Of course yes, and this is why I added Sanjay and Bipasha. Besides the basic criteria that they come with the right acting skills, they also add glamour that gives a different dimension to the character. Their presence helps the film from not becoming overtly serious. However, the narrative has been kept tight and engrossing enough. This is how LAMHAA becomes different from PARZANIA because here there are lesser emotions and more drama.



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