Sheema Zehra : “I used to see films as reality; later I got to know how they are actually produced by a bunch of people”, smiles Faizah who has worked as an assistant director in a recent video Jhelum by Mad In Kashmir. The song which has brought adamant grace to the Kashmiri music displays the women of Kashmir who have lost their loved ones over the years of conflict and crying.
Mad In kashmir was initiated by Mir Faizah, a 23-year-old film maker along with other 4 film makers during the Covid lockdown when almost all the work around was shut. Their first video was a song “Baalyaro” and currently they are working on a short film based on a love story.
“We are 5 independent filmmakers working as a crew, me being the only girl”, says Faizah who is downhearted for the less active role of Kashmir women in Films and mass communication in general. “Many girls want to join acting but only little show up when it comes to work. Parents get worried for their girls to stay out for long and this work requires time”, Faizah talks about the difficulty one faces while looking for a girl to act.
Faizah has worked with Zee music as assistant director for many songs and one of which is Janaan, a song by Mr. Noor Mohammad and Mr. Irfan Bukhari. The song has engulfed the heart of every Kashmiri and has sparked the Kashmiri music at large grounds. “Kashmir has many stories to say and I want to convey them”, Faizah declares.
Where Faizah had once dreamt of Journalism she got more interested in films and television. “Kashmir is a conflict zone and we have seen through conflict since childhood. I always wanted to do something for the people here”, says Faizah who has done her graduation in mass communication from Mithibai College, Mumbai, had started with small projects during her college times and is a part of films made in Kashmir.
“Film making can sometimes be difficult”, declares Faizah while sharing her experience during the shoot of ‘Jhelum’. “We were shooting on Bund (Bridge) of Jhelum and we saw the body of a woman drowning. It was so terrifying that we couldn’t move our bodies; we were stuck with hundreds of other people who gathered there. One of my teammates decided to help but we didn’t want another problem since the water was in a rush. I held his arm asking him not to move, people ran across markets to bring ropes to help and we did nothing for 20 minutes other than staring at the misfortune of the woman”.
Faizah has worked as the first assistant director of Renzoo Films, a Kashmir based film production house and has accomplished a number of projects with them. She has also worked with a US based production house and is working on the song Dan E Posh which is going to release within a few days. Before pandemic Faizah had started her work on the feature film ‘Country Of Blind’ which is going to release in 2021 with the premiere in Berlin. “The film will be available over the OTT platforms like Netflix”, acknowledges Faizah.
“No work is big or small, one has to start somewhere. We grow everyday while taking inspiration from everything around and I take inspiration from the real stories surrounding me”, enlightens Faizah who looks forward to making more films in Mumbai and Kashmir.