The movie, Fanaa, starts with Kajol saluting the Indian flag and this act sets the tone for the entire movie: of Kashmiris being patriotic Indians, of an Islamic movement being thrust upon them.
If all Kashmiris were patriotic Indians, there wouldn’t be the need of 0.7 million troops to ‘control them’ and a movement can not be thrust upon a people until and unless they are ‘fed up’ of the present regime.
Kajol is a part of Independence day celebrations choir representing Kashmir. Her parents see her off in Udhampur. So desperate to get some Kashmir in the movie, the movie makers made another mistake: Kashmiris never (almost) travel from Udhampur to Delhi on a train. The most convenient route is by bus to Jammu and onwards to Delhi. For a non Kashmiri, it does not seem to be a significant mistake. But, a Kashmiri will look at this scene and wonder how long it will take for India and Indians to understand him.
During Kajol's performance in Delhi, she quotes the famous words of Emperor Jehangir: ‘If there is a Paradise on earth, it is here [Kashmir], it is here, it is here.’ But, Kajol attributes these words to Shehjehan. It sounds so stupid when movies with huge budgets make such silly mistakes. She also claims that the words are true for entire India. It was the heat of Delhi that drove the Mughals to Kashmir. It sure is not true for entire India. Organised killings like the ones in Gujrat don't take place in a paradise. I do not need to mention that there was nothing Kashmiri about the song she sang or the dance she danced.
We also have Kajol pronouncing Srinagar as Shrinagar, as most Indians do, but no Kashmiri ever will. It is Srinagar, not Shri Nagar.
The movie creates a fictitious organisation named IKJ. This abbrevation seems to have been inspired by JKLF (Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front) . Tabu, while describing IKJ, calls it an organisation as professional and as well networked as the CIA, MOSSAD and KGB. I wish they were.
Organisation is the only problem with Kashmiri groups, be they political or militant.
The movie has played safe and potrays that both India and Pakistan are suffering because of being targeted by the Kashmiris militant organisations. JKLF has always demanded freedom from both India and Pakistan.
What makes Fanaa different than other movies based on Kashmir?
It has had at least the decency to make a Kashmiri girl fall in love with a Kashmiri boy. It has made a brave attempt to say that Kashmir was promised a plebiscite and had the right to choose between India, Pakistan and Independence. As Tabu utters these words, another character thunders back: Plebiscite was promised for the Kashmir under their (Pakistan) control as well. The way this character responds back is similar to how most Indians respond back. The reality is that Kashmiris in Azad Kashmir will never vote for India, they have never shown any inclination for India. They may want independence from Pakistan but they can't even imagine in their wildest dreams to be a part of India. There are 99% Muslims in Azad Kashmir and I am sure they don’t want to become a minority in India and become become prey to a Gujarat like riots.
There are some other inconsistencies in the movie as well. Kajol’s father drinks heavily and has a bar in his home. Drinking is a taboo in Kashmir and having open bars in homes is unheard of, let alone seen. When Amir Khan calls his boss and claims that he has got the nuclear bomb device, the intelligence guys are able to intercept the message but are unable to locate the origin. When Kajol calls from the same set and asks for help, the intelligence guys are immediately able to locate the origin and they ask Kajol to stay put till morning as that’s how long they will take to get there. It’s actually giving Kajol and Amir enough time to fuse some life into an almost dead movie. There is not a place in Kashmir, where there are as grand houses as shown in the movie, that would take more than an hour by a helicopter to reach. Even ground forces can reaches pretty quick, the 0.7 Million troops are scattered all over the valley.
I was hoping that a movie in which Amir Khan stars would be a class apart. It should have dealt with the complexities of the Kashmir issue, but I guess no matter who the actor, no matter who the producer, speaking the truth about Kashmir is still an impossibility. Maybe more than the people, the producers are scared of the biased Indian media that will make a mince meat out of them if they attempt to do justice to Kashmir on the reel. In real no one can but the Kashmiris themselves.
Why at all does Bollywood make movies based on Kashmir?
Economics. Money. Bollywood is a setup for making money and for being famous. It does not care for beliefs and it does not have one. People indulged in glamour, power and money have very little time to think about causes.
Kashmir sells. This is the truth. From Salman Rushdie to MJ Akbar (Editor Asian Age) to Sheikh Rashid (Minister in Pakistan) all claim to be of Kashmiri descent. There are people whose great great great great grandfather had migrated from Kashmir and they think of themselves as Kashmiris. I can not digest that. A grandfather being from Kashmir is fine, even a great grandfather is fine. But, great great great grandfather is not fine at all. This is all happening because this ‘wretched’ word Kashmir creates a feeling of goodness, a sense of pride, an aura of magnanimity among people who are far far away from it. It is just fine for a guy in UK/USA to brag about being a Kashmiri, it doesn't hurt him. But, a real Kashmiri suffers from the pain of being a Kashmiri every single day. His goodness and cheer gets drowned in the tears, his pride is overshadowed by the pain, and his aura of magnanimity is cowed down by the guns that are pointed at him on every road junction, on every footpath, on every step that he takes.
Kashmir is all about money for Bollywood as it is so for many other things. Bollywood created Roja, Mission Kashmir, Sheen, Yahaan and Fanaa. Salman Rushdie created the Clown of Shalimar. Gandhi created the Ghosts of Kashmir. Personalities, movies, documentaries, books, newspapers have all been created using Kashmir. A Kashmiri creates joy in the painful paradox of his very existence.