Sunday, October 24, 2021

Raja Shabir Khan on his Kashmiri film ‘Shepherds of Paradise’

Acclaimed Kashmiri film 'Shepherds of Paradise' was screened at Picturetime's inflatable theatre at the ongoing Himalayan Film Festival in Ladakh.

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Acclaimed Kashmiri film ‘Shepherds of Paradise’ was screened at Picturetime’s inflatable theatre stationed at the ongoing Himalayan Film Festival in Ladakh. The director of the film, Raja Shabir Khan shares about his film and also remembers the protagonist of the film who sadly died due to Covid-19.

Director and producer of the film Raja Shabir Khan says: “It feels great to be a part of the first Himalayan Film Festival and my film was screened at Picturetime’s inflatable theatre here and the viewing experience was great and very unique. I feel these travelling theatres would open up the avenues where there are no theatres. I’m from Kashmir and we don’t have operational theatres right now and I was thinking how wonderful it would be to have something like this in Kashmir too”.

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The director also fondly recalls the protagonist of the film, ‘Gafoor’ who recently lost his life to Covid.

He recalls: “When I went for the research to shoot the film, I camped at a place where I came across a shepherd family and told them what I was researching on and asked them if I could travel with them to know more about their life, they agreed and told me to come the next day in the morning, but by the time I woke up they had already left.”

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“Just then I was packing up my tent and this old man was walking along with the herd. I told him I’m making a film and asked him if I could accompany him, he happily agreed and that’s how I met him and that’s how it all started. We shared a very close bond, unfortunately we lost him to Covid a few months ago.”

This film is about the nomadic life of shepherds known as ‘Bakarwals’ of Kashmir as they journey from Jammu to the Kashmir Valley and back. The film highlights the challenges faced by these people who battle against the forces of nature, while avoiding the Army and militants. It is an insight into the challenges and difficulties posed to these shepherds while covering a distance of almost 300 kms on foot.

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The ‘Shepherds of Paradise’ won the Best Non-Feature Film and Best Cinematography awards at the 60th National Film Awards. Director Raja Shabir Khan was felicitated post the screening by Secretary I & B, UT Ladakh, Padma Angmo.

The ongoing Himalayan Film Festival is playing host to a variety of acclaimed films from the Himalayan states of Assam, Sikkim, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh.

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