Kashmir University Students Disrupt Shooting Of Vishal Bhardwaj Film

Kashmir University Students Disrupt Shooting Of Vishal Bhardwaj Film

24 November 2013
The Hindu
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

Srinagar: Film-maker Vishal Bhardwaj was forced to pack up after a group of Kashmir University students disrupted shooting of a sequence of a fidayeen attack for his upcoming movie Haider. The sequence was being shot on the University campus at Hazratbal on Sunday. Eyewitnesses said that a group of University students gathered at the picturesque Naseem Bagh, within the campus, and began whispering and gesticulating upon sighting the set - a make-shift bunker with the Indian national flag atop it. Even as the shooting had been scheduled on a holiday, the crowd began swelling with the entry of over 50 students from two hostel buildings. The Police on duty initially foiled the students’ attempt to disrupt the shooting with the detention of a couple of the youths who asked the managers to pull down the Indian flag and be careful that nothing objectionable [to the anti-Indian crowd] was filmed on the campus. Even when the Tricolour was pulled down under pressure, the students shouted at an actor for smoking around the set. However, in a while, the crowd began shouting anti-Indian and pro-Azadi slogans, besides booing the crew. Soon the unit packed up and withdrew. Srinagar Senior Superintendent of Police Ashiq Bukhari told The Hindu that a thin group of the students objected to the National Flag. “The film unit packed up without picking up a clash with the students. It was not a big demonstration. Police did not interfere, other than providing reasonable security to the actors and the crew,” he said. A spokesman of the proscribed Kashmir University Students’ Union said in a statement that the demonstrators forced the film unit to bring down the Indian flag and also forced actor Irrfan Khan to put out his cigarette on the “smoke-free campus”. He alleged that two of the “protesters” were arrested by the police but let off later. “The students came out of the hostels and raised pro-freedom and anti-India slogans in the campus. After the situation got out of control, Proctor Naseer Iqbal managed the release of both the students and promised prompt action against the security personnel,” he said. Sources said that the film unit, which began an extensive schedule of the shooting on the famous Dal Lake here earlier this month, received an enthusiastic response from the spectators. However, it later shifted to a different location and carried on the day’s schedule. With Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor playing the lead roles, Haider is said to be Bhardwaj’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Hamlet. As Haider is almost fully being shot in the Valley, Bhardwaj has reportedly assured Chief Minister Omar Abdullah that the film would have nothing to harm the local sensibilities and the political aspirations.