No Fathers in Kashmir

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No Fathers In Kashmir
Directed byAshvin Kumar
Produced byAshvin Kumar
Screenplay byAshvin Kumar
StarringZara Webb
Soni Razdan
Shivam Raina
Ashvin Kumar
Kulbhushan Kharbanda
Anshuman Jha
Natasha Mago
Music byLoïk Dury & Christophe ‘Disco’ Minck
CinematographyJean-Marc Selva
Edited byThomas Goldser
Ashvin Kumar
Abhro Banerjee
Alipur Films
Release date
  • 5 April 2019 (2019-04-05)[1]

No Fathers In Kashmir is an Indian drama film directed by Oscar Nominated Ashvin Kumar[2]. Written by Ashvin Kumar, the film stars Zara Webb, Ashvin Kumar, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Anshuman Jha, Natasha Mago. Film released on 5 April 2019[2][3].


A teenage British Kashmiri, Noor, retraces her roots in search of her father. She is joined by Majid, a local Kashmiri boy. Unwittingly they become involved in a 70 year old Kashmir conflict in one of the most deadliest parts of the world.

Set against the spectacular backdrop of Kashmir, this epic tragedy unravels through the playful eyes of love-struck teenagers who, in their search, uncover the hidden secrets of the lost fathers of Kashmir.


Noor is a smart-talking, smartphone-wielding, selfie-obsessed British teenager, who lands with reluctant curiosity in a village in Kashmir after 14 years to meet the paternal grandparents she's barely seen since birth. She's known all along that her father abandoned them when she was two, and she has made her peace with that knowledge.

The unlikely friendship she forges with the amiable Majid soon after she arrives is about to change all that. She discovers that her dad and Majid's father - along with a reticent and highly-respected local leader Arshid - were inseparable as young men. And as an opaque, tightly-masked story of that friendship unravels, so does Noor's innocent curiosity about her father, as she stumbles on the first in a series of long-held secrets.

That her father didn't abandon them but was 'picked up' by the Indian army. That he is dead. And that his closest friend, Arshid, abandoned him to save himself.

What follows is an impelling quest for answers in which Noor co-opts a reluctant Majid to take her on a journey to where her father was believed to be held captive and eventually died - a dense, dangerous mountain forest on the edge of the Pakistan border; out of bounds to locals.

During a hair-raising night, elevated through small acts such as the finding of young love, the loss of courage and confrontation of brutality, Noor and Majid find evidence of atrocities committed by the army in the line of duty; evidence Noor captures on her ever-present smartphone. But before they can make their journey home, terror strikes: the teenage couple are intercepted by an Indian army patrol tasked to guard the international border and prevent infiltration of terrorists from Pakistan. Majid, initially safe from detection, gives up safety to come to Noor's help. But there's heartbreak in store for him, entirely separate from the horrors of arrest, violence and thrashings.

Zainab, Noor's mother, secures her daughter's release using the clout of her bureaucrat fiancé, but Majid is left behind and his amiability comes back to haunt him.

A series of playful pictures, taken for Noor's Facebook page - a world he'd never encountered, let alone experienced, till Noor waltzed into his life - of him holding a gun, dressed as a terrorist, to feed her social media obsession for a 'selfie with a terrorist'.

Will Noor let Majid - the boy who sacrificed personal safety for his love for her - go down as collateral damage?


No Fathers in Kashmir, Ashvin Kumar’s third film on Kashmir, a coming-of-age story about innocence, the exuberance of being young and hopeful invites teenage and young audiences to experience the realities of the Kashmir conflict. This slow, grinding war has claimed over 100,000 lives - four times that of the Israel and Palestine conflict. It has bled India, Pakistan and Kashmir since our independence in 1947. Based on hundreds of true stories, this tender storm of first-love and heart-break engages teenage and young audiences to empathise with their counterparts in Kashmir by learning about a conflict that has been shrouded by propaganda and misinformation, one that has been poorly represented in mainstream Indian cinema.



The maker was very keen that Kashmiri music (Ali Saffudin / Alif/ Abha ) are featured in the film. The music of the film was composed by Loic Dury and Christophe (disco) Mink, two French composers who heard dozens of versions of the Cholhama Roshay song and decided to make it their inspiration.

The music of the film included instruments rarely heard in a sound track like the crystal bashe – an instrument that takes up an entire room to play. The composers never actually met Ali Safuddin. Nor did they ask him to re perform the title track in a studio. They took the same version as he recorded on YouTube sitting by the Dal Lake and added their own magic underneath. When Ali heard it for the first time at the screening of the film he was floored.[5][6][7]


This film is no ordinary film. Its struggles were not only with the internal conflicts of an artist and those of film production problems but the external conflicts of war, politics and censorship made it a 5 year long bruising campaign of sorts.

Unsurprisingly, no one in the film industry wanted to finance it. Ashvin ran a very successful campaign on Kickstarter which also helped gather private sources but on the 23 rd of June Brexit happened and shaved off 10% of the funds raised with so much difficulty.

Just as the crew was gathering to shoot outside Srinagar, in June 2016, Burhan Wani, the militant who had become a social media sensation among the Kashmiri youth, was killed and there was a six month shutdown in the valley.

Two weeks before the shoot, three of the main actors of the film dropped out for various reasons sending the team who were as it is unprepared, scrambling around casting directors to look for replacements. The shoot began on the 07th November, 2016 and on the 08th of November the Indian Rupee was demonetised. When the shoot resumed, the location was changed to Bhaderwah, Kishtwar District, the film was given a different name, the crew had to fly under the radar and shoot the film in an impossibly short schedule. Shoot started in a bitterly cold Himalayan winter in a remote part of the world -- no heating, electricity and 14-hour work-days.The budget already diminished by Brexit and Demonitisation was made for the long days of summer. It was simply insufficient for the shorter days of winter. The crew needed more days of shoot but funds were running thin. Kumar got down to raising money again, and prepared another schedule in July 2017.

Censorship Issues[edit]

An eight month battle with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) began in July 2018. After the first viewing that took place in October, CBFC passed the film with an 'A' certificate. The makers had then disagreed with the apex body and challenged their decision. They then went to the FCAT in November. Subsequently, two hearings were organised, one in December and another one in January.

All this while, support from the film fraternity did not slow down. Pritish Nandy and actress Swara Bhaskar lent support to the film. Also, expressing her displeasure in the matter, actress Alia Bhatt[8] had written, “Was soo looking forward to mom's @nofathers_movie #nofathersinkashmir!! @Soni_Razdan @ashvinkumar & team worked super hard for this honest teens love story in Kashmir. Really hope the CBFC would #lifttheban. It’s a film about empathy & compassion... let’s give love a chance!” [9][10][11][12][13][14]

Critical response[edit]

No Fathers in Kashmir received glowing reviews from critics and audiences alike making it one of the best reviewed films of 2019.

Udita Jhunjhunwala wrote on that Ashvin Kumar offered a "sobering view of a situation that he seasons with hope".[15]A powerful drama that terrifically encapsulates the robbed childhoods and broken dreams of Kashmiri adolescents, Kumar uses a British-Kashmiri teenage girl to propel his narrative that dwells deep into the darkest, most horrific corners of the valley, writes, Ankur Pathak in[16]

Utkarsh Mishra of gave 4.5 stars out of 5, writing, "can be watched again and again to understand each and every aspect of it".[17] Anna Vetticad of Firstpost opines "for a fictionalised feature to shine a light on the most contentious aspects of Kashmir's tragedy - from hypocritical fundamentalists to half widows and mass graves - takes immense guts irrespective of which political party is in power at the Centre (or for that matter, which direction the liberal conversation has taken). That Kumar has chosen to do so under a government that has revved up the nationalist discourse to a fever pitch makes him, like No Fathers In Kashmir, truly special."[18] Samrudhi Ghosh of IndiaToday wrote, "No Fathers In Kashmir leaves you thinking of the thousands of disappeared fathers, sons and brothers long after you leave the theatre".[19] Paulomi Das of Arre thinks that film is a tender portrait of first love in the time of the Kashmir crisis.[20]

Saibal Chaterjee of NDTV gave 3.5 stars out of 5 and commented, "the impact of the quality writing, the steady cinematography and the sharp editing is enhanced significantly by a cast of actors who strike the right notes all the way."[21] Chetna Kapoor of Republic World rated the film 4 out of 5, wrote, "Zara Webb And Shivam Raina shine bright in this dark tale of a paradise at war".[22] Sreeparna Sengupta of Times of India rated it 3.5 stars out of 5.[23] Suguna Sundaram of Cineblitz gave it 4 stars out of 5, applauded the performances and direction, and concluded "This simply told tale touches one deep inside, where it matters.[24]


  1. ^ "Soni Razdan's 'No Fathers in Kashmir' to Release on 5 April". The Quint. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Censor Woes for 'No Fathers In Kashmir' Are Over, Ashvin Kumar's Film Released on April 5". News18. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  3. ^ IANS (14 March 2019). "'No Fathers in Kashmir' to release on April 5". Business Standard India. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  4. ^ "No Fathers in Kashmir: After eight-month-long CBFC tussle, Ashvin Kumar's film to release on 5 April- Entertainment News, Firstpost". Firstpost. 14 March 2019. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  5. ^ "No Fathers In Kashmir song Chol Homa Roshay is a soul-warming Kashmiri rendition". 29 March 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  6. ^ "No Fathers In Kashmir song Chol Homa Roshay is a soul-warming Kashmiri rendition". 29 March 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  7. ^ "No Fathers In Kashmir | Song - Chol Homa Roshay | English Video Songs - Times of India". Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Alia urges CBFC to let her mother Soni Razdan's film 'No Fathers In Kashmir' release". Latest Breaking News, Live TV. 17 January 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  9. ^ Pundir, Pallavi; Solani, Dhvani (24 October 2018). "Ashvin Kumar's Latest Film on Kashmir Hits a Roadblock with the Censor Board". Vice. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  10. ^ "This Film on Kashmir Sought CBFC Clearance 6 Months Ago – and Is Still Waiting". The Wire. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  11. ^ "CBFC Denies Banning 'No Fathers in Kashmir', Says Reports "False"". The Quint. 17 January 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  12. ^ "'Let's Give Love A Chance:' Alia Bhatt Tweets In Support Of Mother Soni Razdan's No Fathers In Kashmir". Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  13. ^ ANI (17 January 2019). "CBFC denies banning 'No fathers in Kashmir'". Business Standard India. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  14. ^ "'No Fathers In Kashmir': It's an all-out war between film on Kashmir and the CBFC". National Herald. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  15. ^
  16. ^ "'No Fathers In Kashmir' Review: Of Robbed Childhoods And Broken Dreams". HuffPost India. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  17. ^ "Review: No Fathers in Kashmir is a must watch". Rediff. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  18. ^ "No Fathers In Kashmir movie review: Ashvin Kumar's courage and empathy for a troubled people shines through- Entertainment News, Firstpost". Firstpost. 5 April 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  19. ^ DelhiApril 5, Samrudhi Ghosh New; April 5, 2019UPDATED:; Ist, 2019 12:07. "No Fathers In Kashmir Movie Review: Soni Razdan film is poignant tale of love and loss". India Today. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  20. ^ "No Fathers in Kashmir Review: A Necessary Film that Poses Questions that Can't Be Ignored". Arré. 5 April 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  21. ^ "Saibal Chatterjee: Latest News, Photos, Videos on Saibal Chatterjee". Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  22. ^ "'No Fathers In Kashmir' Review: Zara Webb and Shivam Raina shine bright in this dark tale of a paradise at war". Republic World. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  23. ^ No Fathers In Kashmir Review {3.5/5}: Untold stories from the valley, retrieved 10 April 2019
  24. ^ Sundaram, Suguna (4 April 2019). "No Fathers In Kashmir review: Ashvin Kumar's film dares to seek the truth at any cost". CineBlitz. Retrieved 10 April 2019.

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