Back into the valley of death

Mumbai: Actor Sanjay Suri says shooting in Kashmir for his forthcoming film Sikandar was an emotional catharsis for him as he went back to his native land after 18 years. Sanjay also revealed that he and his family were forced to leave the Himalayan valley post his father’s tragic murder by militants.

Memories of my childhood were definitely coming back to me: Sanjay Suri

“Memories of my childhood were definitely coming back to me. I signed on the film both for professional and personal reasons.

Professionally, I wanted to do a film about Kashmir, and personally I was quite excited and nostalgic that this film would take me back to my home which my family and me had left 18 years back due to militancy. My father lost his life in the valley when he was attacked by militants and so going back to Kashmir was definitely an emotionally purgingexperience for me. I visited the land which has so many memories of my childhood attached to it,” says Sanjay, who plays Mukhtaar Mattoo, a reformed militant leader in the film. He quickly clarifies that it has not been inspired by any of the contemporary or historical politicians of the valley.

The actor sentimentally adds, “I have no one left in Kashmir and so I did not know whom to meet. My relatives and neighbours had all left before we left Kashmir in 1990. But going back was a great experience. We shot in Pahalgam.

People were so cooperative. Thankfully our film did not run into any problem with the locals (unlike Rahul Dholakia’s Lamhaa). Then we shot in Anantnag and Aadoo, places militants reigned at one point of time but have now been cleaned out by the army. People told us peace was coming back to the valley since film crews were returning. It was a great feeling.”