After an eight-month struggle, filmmaker Ashvin Kumar’s drama No Fathers in Kashmir has been deemed fit for a “U/A” (parental guidance) certificate with a few cuts and disclaimers by the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal, the makers announced in a press release on Monday. The film was awarded an “A” certificate (suitable for adults only) by the Central Board of Film Certification, after which the filmmaker filed an appeal with the tribunal in November last year.
The makers have had to screen the film six times since they first approached the censor board in July 2018, the press release said. The tribunal’s decision will have to be approved by the censor board.
No Fathers in Kashmir revolves around British-Kashmiri teenager Noor (Zara La Peta Webb) who visits the Valley to find her father, who had disappeared many years ago in the state amid rising militancy and a brutal state crackdown. She is helped by a local boy, Majid (Shivam Raina). The film also stars Soni Razdan, Kulbushan Kharbanda and Anshuman Jha.
In November, Kumar wrote an open letter to Central Board of Film Certification chairperson Prasoon Joshi, contending that an “A” certificate for an independent film was as good as a ban. The film has no sex, nudity or violence and is instead a tale of forgiveness and hope, he wrote.
Kumar’s credits include the Oscar-nominated short film Little Terrorist (2004), Road to Ladakh, starring Irrfan and the documentaries Inshallah, Football (2010) and Inshallah, Kashmir (2012). The documentaries, also set in Kashmir, were given “A” certificates and went on to win National Film Awards.
In the press release, Kumar said such restrictions on films “that tell the truth about Kashmi” must end. “Censorship of the truth about Kashmir has caused a crisis of compassion, amplifying misguided fears of ordinary Indians towards ordinary Kashmiris,” he said in the statement. “Keeping public away from information and truth is such a myopic policy – it only breeds more hostility when the need of the hour is empathy leading to peace.