Blurred Hopes

Arfat Shiekh

Blurred Hope is a short film about women in the Indian occupied Kashmir who have lost their sons, husbands, and brothers through enforced disappearances between 1989 and 2006. I took the inspiration for the film from an organization known as the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) co-founded by Parveena Ahangar as a collective with thousands of other women to seek accountability and justice for their kith and kin who were picked up by the Indian army. These men are allegedly killed without their families knowing where the bodies are or if they are still alive. I was also deeply moved to learn about how Black filmmakers from LA Rebellion created a “watershed” of film media to decolonize the Hollywood’s depiction of black people in their films under the mentorship of Elyseo Taylor at UCLA between the late 1960s – mid-1980s. They had a common purpose to create their own cinema that humanized their depiction in films. Their work was heavily influenced by a range of cinematic models such as Third Cinema, British documentary, and Italian neorealism and by incorporating “a range of Black diasporic aesthetic models (such as jazz, blues, griot storytelling, and Black literature.” I believe such models are required to be adopted in Kashmir too as Bollywood depictions of Kashmir intersect with both popular opinion in India and the government’s foreign policy outlook. Understanding black cinema, its representation, and struggle in America has opened my eyes to look at ways in which such models can be adopted and true representation of Kashmiris can be shown through films that are made by them within their own specific context of culture and conflict. Blurred Hopes is a small step towards that journey!

Arfat Sheikh is a filmmaker from Kashmir. He has 8+ years of experience in conceptualizing and directing documentaries for the development sector. Shiekh has a Masters in Public Relations and Communication from Leeds Beckett University, UK. Currently, he is completing his Masters in Film, Media & Digital Imaging at the school of film, media, and theater, Georgia State University in Atlanta, USA.

Leave a Comment