Like every fairytale, this story too has a hero, heroine and villain. But the uniqueness lies in the way they have been portrayed. When popular Kashmiri folk-pop singer Aabha Hanjura collaborated with actor Vishak Nair (known for the role of Kuppi in Anandam), to narrate the story of Kashmiris and their constant longing for home, the disputed province was personified by the hero and the beauty of Kashmir as his love interest. The evil warlock who wants the heroine all by himself embodies the unpleasant situation existing in the disputed province for decades. It would probably be a one-of-its-kind experiment to narrate such an intense and sensitive story in a two-part music video.
An overwhelmed Vishak believes that there wouldn’t have been a better opportunity to kickstart his career as a director. “I was instantly pulled towards the idea of the music video when Aabha narrated the storyline she had in mind. Being a Kashmiri, she had witnessed the commotion and fear it had caused to the minds of people there. I think it was the biggest challenge for me as a director to portray that emotion and tension on screen, which, I think, is too complex for a music video which should be precise yet elaborate. The two-part video was therefore an effort to build the drama and to facilitate story-telling. Not many musicians in India have ventured into this type of storytelling,” says Vishak.
The first part of the music video titled Roshewalla comprises a Kashmiri folk song Dilbaro Yuier Valo, re-imagined and rendered by Aabha in contemporary style. The second part Chalo Chinaro Ke Gharon, a Hindi song, was written and composed by Vishak’s team.
The actor-director adds that reinterpreting the situation in Kashmir in a way that would not trigger any controversy while not diluting its seriousness led them to personify the situation and narrate it like a children’s story. Explaining how puppetry became an important link in their narration, Vishak says, “We wanted to portray the love-hate relationship of Kashmiris with their land that has made the wanting to go home, most important and crucial. We decided to use puppetry to narrate the story as the art form might be fascinating for many children.”
The music video portrays string puppetry and shadow puppetry. Vishak adds that it was an extremely time-consuming task for the puppeteers, especially the shadow puppeteers as they had to create from scratch these puppets that resembled the characters in Roshewalla. “Most of the characters in shadow puppetry are mainly associated with Hindu gods and therefore, it was a challenge to create the characters in our story. Even more difficult was the presentation and movement of the puppets in right angles that would be appropriate for each shot. We had to take multiple takes to get it right. They had issues understanding it because shooting for a video was completely different from a stage performance. But they eventually picked it up and the output was phenomenal. The shadow puppeteers from Palakkad are world-renowned artists and I am glad they cooperated with us to make it happen. Even the string puppeteers had to make the Kashmiri characters. Aabha supervised the detailing of the characters like costume and jewellery. We also added a buttery effect that symbolises love,” he says.
The first part of Roshewalla ends with the curious audiences waiting to know what happens next. Like most fairytales, Roshewalla too has a happy ending. The second part is about the hero regaining his courage and returning home to fight it out for his beloved. The music video has been produced by MadGenius Productions and the cinematography is handled by Arun Chandran, who worked for Anandam and Neram.
Speaking about Aabha, Vishak gusges, “She is one of the most creative souls I have ever met. She sincerely wanted to portray the emotion of every Kashmiri with regard to their home, which has been underrated by the people living in other states.” He adds that such a music video indeed has lot of relevance in the present situation of Kashmir, “It would be one of the greatest achievements of all times if innocent people get to live in their homes permanently
without fearing anyone,” he adds.
Though Vishak made his debut in Mollywood with acting, he says he would like to be known as a writer-director. His next is a film with Ganesh Raj, director of Anandam wherein he will also be seen as a creative support in addition to being part of the cast....