A short film portraying the pain and suffering of displaced Kashmiri Pandits who had to flee their homeland after militancy erupted in Kashmir in the 1990s has been selected for International Film Festival of Cinematic Arts, Los Angeles.
Produced and directed by Siddhartha Gigoo, ‘The Last Day’ has already won viewers’ accolades and received three nominations in the forthcoming London International Film Festival to be held in October.
“The film depicts the plight of an entire community through the lives of four people living in the hope of a better tomorrow,” says Gigoo.
“I’ve tried to bring to the fore the longing of a family for their homeland in an alien environment of migrant camps,” he said, adding that the film was shot at several locations in Jammu and Srinagar.
“Set in 1994 in a camp for Kashmiri Pandit in exile, the film portrays the life of an old patriarch, who is on his deathbed and battling dementia, and his family’s daily fight for survival,” says the filmmaker, whose family was also displaced from Kashmir.
“The Last Day explores themes of loss, shattered human relationships, fears and longing in the lives of the exiled families who left the Valley due to militancy. Around four lakh Pandits were forced to flee their homes. Several thousand homeless families sought shelter in puny canvas tents set up in migrant camps,” says Gigoo.
“Several old men and women died in hope that they will see their villages before death. It’s the story of those people, who suffered the pain of migration and loss of identity”, Gigoo said.
The exiled community is still waiting for favourable political conditions in Kashmir for its return.
The film has received adulation at 6th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK). It got nominated in 50 Best Films category during the Indian Independent Film Festival (TIIFF), Bangalore, in August.
The film was a major showcase during the 7th Annual Film Aid Film Festival, Kenya in Africa and Beskop Tshechu Documentary, Animation and Short Film festival, Bhutan.