A few weeks ago, news reports had surfaced where Ashvin Kumar, India’s youngest Oscar-nominated director of the short film Little Terrorist found himself in a place where no filmmakers wishes to be. Being a creative medium, films have had a long-standing scale of issues with the CBFC over the years. With increasing methods to curb a voice, CBFC has always made news in terms of its varied reasons to reject or give incorrect certification to several films. And Ashvin Kumar’s next, NO FATHERS IN KASHMIR is currently is such a lurk. The film has had its own history now with the CBFC since July when the film first applied for certification. A process which usually would take 60-68 days took over 100 days to even get a certificate. The CBFC tagged the film A in October despite it following all the lawful guidelines crafted by the board.
NO FATHERS IN KASHMIR is a love story of two innocent 16-year-olds who are met with the same fortune of having lost their fathers who have disappeared in Kashmir with no certainty of their return. Interestingly Ashvin has made two other short films earlier Inshallah Football and Inshallah Kashmir both of which were first banned by the film certification board and later went on to win a National Award for each. Now when the filmmakers for their latest, decided to question and request for a revision of the certificate to U/A, the matter was applied to the FCAT, the final decision-making body for film certification. Upon the investigation of the matter, the FCAT in its screening which was held on 11th December, demanded the CBFC revising committee to give the film a proper hearing, in a written order asked them to watch the movie again and give it its justified certification within 10 days, which was on 21st December. Since then the CBFC has already removed the order and asked for a further extension to give its order on the movie.
This happens to be the worst nightmare for a filmmaker, who’s invested time and creativity apart from money in making a film, especially when its independent. The tug of war between these two film certification bodies have left the makers of NO FATHERS IN KASHMIR in a very mucky space with no certainty of a release for its film. The film stars the two kids Zara Webb, Shivam Rana in addition to having an impressive ensemble cast comprising of Kulbulshan Kharbanda, Soni Razdan and Anshuman Jha.
Speaking about it, director Ashvin Kumar said, “We went to FCAT for relief, they returned it to CBFC as the latter did not give us a legally mandated hearing. This is indicative of the CBFC's poor grasp of its mandate and legalities. It does not take 6 months to give a censor certificate and we still have no idea when we will get it. We have gone from 2 hearings in Bombay to one in Delhi and now back to Bombay and again back to Delhi. I don’t know which other filmmaker has been put through this wringer and I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.
Our film No Fathers In Kashmir tries to show Kashmir through empathy and compassion. THAT IS WHAT I BELIEVE WILL BRING PEACE, THE NEXT GENERATION, ARMED WITH TRUTH. If people start understanding the reality of what is going on there, they may actually stop believing the half truths and outright lies of propaganda and paid media”.