June 26, 2008
"Mongol" and "Project Kashmir"
This last week I watched two very disappointing movies that I had awaited so expectantly: "Mongol" and
Bodrov's Academy Award Nominee "Mongol" came on the heels of my reading Weatherford's "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World", and even though the movie was much acclaimed by the academy it failed to grip the audience like Weatherford's novel on the same subject did. The film dealt at length with the courtship and relationship thereafter between the legendary Genghis Khan and Borte, his wife who he lost multiple times during the course of the movie. This movie is but the first part of a trilogy portraying the life of Genghis Khan, but it is unlikely that I watch the latter two parts.
Then I watched "Project Kashmir" at the Lincoln Center some 100 miles away and in the middle of a high tension work week! Alas, it proved a complete waste of time as it had nothing new to offer both in terms of its factual content and in its perspective on the Kashmir issue. In fact there were points in the film and in the question-answer session with the movie-makers that followed, when the entire project seemed rather amateurish; two friends, one of Pakistani origin and the other of Indian origin embarking on a journey into the heart of Kashmir to figure out how a 'healing' could be brought about for the Hindu 'pundits' and the Kashmiri Muslims. I would any day recommend another documentary on Kashmir, "Crossing the Lines", that I saw a few years ago on the Princeton Campus; made by Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy and Dr. Zian Mian, it offered a more plausible perspective on the Kashmir issue and even had a semi-viable solution to offer at the end; diffusing the religiously volatile situation in Kashmir by luring its people with economic gains that would be independent of both India and Pakistan.