‘As a filmmaker I want to have an opinion’

In an industry often criticized for its escapist fare, the Indian film milieu is gearing up to encounter a film that dives headlong into the heart of current national discourse. Director Aditya Suhas Jambhale is all set to break the ice with his political thriller ‘Article 370’, which is steeped in the controversial and historic abrogation of Article 370, the topic that has engaged India in a fervent debate about national integration and autonomy.

The bold move of 2019, which saw Jammu & Kashmir’s special status being revoked, is the pivot around which Jambhale’s narrative revolves. While many laud this act as a unification milestone, others remain ensconced in skepticism. Addressing this duality, Director Jambhale firmly believes that the operation was a testament to the ideology of ‘one India’ and that telling this story was essential to reflect his conviction. Riding on the star power of Yami Gautam, ‘Article 370’ is poised to be a cinematic exploration of this landmark political change.

Jambhale, who cut his teeth on films set in his familiar territory of Konkan, ventured into unknown waters with his previous offering ‘Amritsar Junction’ (2020), a tale set against the harrowing backdrop of the Partition. But it wasn’t until he embarked on the production of his supernatural film, ‘Baramulla’, set in the valley of Kashmir, that the seeds for ‘Article 370’ were sown. With support from his producer and compatriot, Aditya Dhar – also a creative force behind critically acclaimed works – Jambhale found himself invested in the story that had unfolded in the region. Four months of filming ‘Baramulla’ in the valley altered his perspective as an outsider, allowing him a deeper understanding of a land that was transforming in front of his eyes.

Even as he highlights the economic rejuvenation post-2019 with Kashmir’s booming business and hospitality sectors, Jambhale does not shy away from probing into the everyday lives affected by these historic changes. “Article 370 deals with the local Kashmiri feeling,” he says, signaling that the film has captured the pulse of the common man whose life has been touched by the political shift.

However, the release timing of ‘Article 370’ – in an election year – draws inevitable speculation about the film’s intent and balance. Jambhale defends with aplomb, shedding light on the intricate covert operation that makes for the film’s crux. Without a hint of bloodshed, the operation sought to normalize what was once ‘the most militarized zone’, a narrative the director considers powerful and deserving of the silver screen. The director’s stance is unwavering – he endorses the film’s message, believing that his artistic expression is integrally tied to his personal beliefs.

Jambhale’s commitment to the film is evident when he talks about the rigorous shoot in Kashmir, particularly a challenging scene shot with Gautam in Downtown Srinagar. With the requisite security arrangements in place and a welcoming local populace, the director felt confident in executing his vision.

With ‘Article 370’, Director Aditya Suhas Jambhale ventures beyond the safety of known narratives, creating a film that not only serves as a platform for his viewpoint but also endeavours to stir a conversation on the national stage. As Jambhale succinctly puts it, “unless I believe in it, I cannot make it.” The critics and audiences are now on the edge of their seats, awaiting a film that promises to be as politically charged as its subject. Will ‘Article 370’ be able to navigate the complexities of narrative and neutrality? Only time and the viewers will render the final verdict.

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