Provided all goes well on the Covid-19 front, the Kashmir World Film Festival (KWFF) is scheduled to be held in November, after a gap of two years. The festival was not held for two years due to the adverse security situation and the Covid pandemic.
There is also a good possibility that Bollywood Superstar Aamir Khan would attend the festival.
The KWFF is the brainchild of famous Kashmir theatre artist and filmmaker Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan. He wanted to screen world-class films for the masses, particularly Kashmir youth, who have grown under difficult circumstances due to turmoil and insurgency in Kashmir for three decades.
The Festval was first organised in 2017. It comprises two edition each year - one in winter and the other in summer. Both the years the festival ws received well by the people. People in Kashmir used to be avid Bollywood fans till the advent of militancy in 1989 when the screening was stopped and cinema halls were closed under threats from militant groups.
Mushtaaque says he is keen to “evolve a culture of film watching” in the cinema-starved Kashmir. He organized the first festival for five days in July while the next one was upgraded to a week-long affair the next year and it was held in November, at the onset of winter.
“We are trying to hold it in November this year” Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan, Founder, and Director of KWFF told Awaz-the voice,
“This year the fifth edition of the KWFF would be inaugurated in Gulmarg and closed at Pahalgam,” Mushtaaque said. Both these places are famous tourist destinations in Kashmir. Khan said, “I want to connect the festival with tourism also.”
The films screened include feature films, short fiction films, documentaries, animations, or any experimental films.
Mushtaq Ali Ahmad Khan got a boost to his efforts to revive the festival when he received an appreciation from Aamir Khan, who was recently in Srinagar shooting for his film Lal Singh Chadha.
"The actor (Aamir Khan) assured his full support to the team KWFF and committed to being the chief guest in the next edition”, a statement of the KWFF had claimed.
Aamir Khan appreciated the entire team for holding such a festival at a place like Kashmir which has no cinemas and theatres,” the KWFF statement added. They also met renowned film director Rajkumar Hirani and producer Mahaveer Jain, it added.
In a video message released by the KWFF team, Amit Khan has congratulated them.
”It is good to have a Film Festival in a place like Kashmir and so many people have been coming to watch the films. Film personalities have also been coming to attend this festival to do sessions of interaction with film students and film aspirants. I hope to attend this festival soon once this pandemic is over,” Aamir Khan said in the video message.
Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan says he wants to “share the experience of world-class cinema with the people of Kashmir, particularly the youth, and provide a platform for the filmmakers of the valley. It is an attempt to reclaim valley’slost cinema culture”.
He is one of the leading filmmakers of Kashmir and has been around for neraly four decades. He has received many awards for his contribution to the art of filmmaking and theatre.
The selection of films for screening is done by a team of local experts and filmmakers. They willalso select a team of national and foreign experts not only from Bollywood but also from Delhi, Kolkatta and the South to be invited to the festival.
“We can’t afford to have controversial political subjects, but focus on good quality content and intellectual level”, Mushtaaque Ali.