x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Film looks at Kargil War through cricket rivalry

The Dubai director Japinder Baweja's movie is making the film festival circuit in India.

Via Kargil was directed by Japinder Baweja.
Via Kargil was directed by Japinder Baweja.

Celtic and Rangers. Wallabies and the All Blacks. Al Ahly and Zamalek. There are numerous sporting rivalries across the world, but few are as fierce as the one between India and Pakistan in the supposedly gentlemanly sport of cricket. And on June 8, 1999, this rivalry reached a peak, as India took on Pakistan in the ICC World Cup in Manchester, England, just as the two faced each other in the bloody Kargil War over territories in Kashmir.

Thirteen years on, a short film about this dual conflict is set to appear at several Indian film festivals, and has already screened at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in Mumbai.

Via Kargil, which was directed by the Dubai-based Japinder Baweja, looks at the cricket match through the perspective of Nonu, an 8-year-old Sikh boy in Punjab who believes his brother will return from war should India emerge victorious in Manchester. Despite the subject matter, Baweja says: "It's a mild satire on our society for giving heavenly status to a cricket match over something as grave as the Kargil War."

Shot on 35-millimetre film and 11 minutes long, Via Kargil will screen at both the Pune and Jaipur International Film Festivals in January, and the Nashik International Film Festival in February. But before then, there are hopes the film might make an appearance in the UAE.

"I've submitted it for the 2012 Dubai International Film Festival," says Baweja, who previously worked on last year's Bollywood hit Aarakshan starring Amitabh Bachchan. "I'm keeping my fingers crossed."

And in case you were wondering, India did win the match.

aritman@thenational.ae