Protests hit Haider shoot on Valley campus

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By MUZAFFAR RAINA
  • Published 25.11.13
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Shraddha Kapoor at the shooting of Haider in Qazigund earlier this week. (PTI)

Srinagar, Nov. 24: Students of Kashmir University today disrupted shooting for Vishal Bhardwaj’s film Haider, believed to be an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, apparently over a scene where the Indian flag was to be hoisted.

A university source said the students objected to the scene, although another official claimed the protest started after some of the crew members lit up on the campus, a no-smoking zone.

The source said the crew, including actor Irrfan Khan, arrived on the campus, known for its pro-aazaadi activism, early in the morning. “The shooting was going on smoothly till afternoon. Then some students objected to a scene… in which an Indian flag was to be unfurled. We took up the issue with them (the crew) and they agreed not to shoot that particular scene lest it inflamed passions,” the source said.

“They (the crew) said they would move to another shot but, in the meantime, a police hawaldar picked up two students and an employee which agitated the students who started protesting.”

The source said the crew left the campus under police protection. “Those men who were picked up by the police were released later.”

Another official said the police had to use force to disperse the students who were shouting pro-aazaadi slogans and demanding the release of their colleagues.

The university’s chief proctor, Nasir Iqbal, however, denied any disruption in the shoot and said the students protested after they saw some of the crew members smoking. “The university is a smoking-free zone. The students were objecting to that,” he said.

He denied the police had picked up any student.

Khawar Jamsheed, line producer with the film, also said the students protested after some on the crew lit cigarettes.

Another crew member, however, said the students objected to a particular scene. “That scene was not shot on the campus later, although most of our shooting earlier went smoothly. We later moved to the Dal Lake area for the rest of the shooting schedule.”

A spokesperson for the Kashmir University Students’ Union, which has been banned by the university as pro-aazaadi student unions are not allowed on the campus, said the students protested as the Tricolour was being raised. He said they also saw Irrfan smoking.

While many Bollywood films have been shot in the Valley, Haider is the first with a strong presence of Kashmiris. The cast has at least 30 Kashmiris. Actors Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor play the lead roles.

The crew appeared to have chosen Sunday when most students, except those who stay in hostels, are not present on the campus.