Kashmir has been involved in several conflicts for over 2 decades now. But somehow, Kashmir still remains heaven for the tourism sector. It was long ago when the Film Industry was too much involved around Kashmir and it was the go-to location for shooting so many films and music videos. From Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan, Kashmir was on the top of the list for shooting a beautiful romantic movie or capturing a thriller scene. After a long time now, finally, tourism gets open in Kashmir Valley despite the ongoing conflicts. So, Renzu Productions haven’t looked back since then. Renzu Productions have started a new era for the Kashmir Music and Film Industry working with local artists and team have created more than 15 music videos and 2 short films featuring the same renowned artists across Bollywood to give a new meaning to Kashmir’s creative industry.
Here is Danish Renzu in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.
1) What is the craze of the Film Industry or Music Industry in Kashmir Valley?
It’s blooming. So many musicians, singers, actors, photographers, influencers, filmmakers are emerging from the valley. Social media has opened doors for the youth here to express themselves and its setting trends. I still remember when I came to Kashmir back in 2016 for my first feature Half Widow, we were the first ones shooting a full-on film in the valley with mostly local cast and crew and it paved way for others to finally get into filmmaking. Through my production company, we’ve done singles with various Kashmiris musicians, singers and actors including Ehan Bhat, Sunayana Kachroo, Noor Mohammad, Hyder Dar, Irfan Bukhari, Archana H, Yawar Abdal and many more, and I’d like to keep this going on. We created songs where mainstream singers including Sonu Nigam, Shankar Mahadevan and even Harshdeep Kaur sang Kashmiri lyrics. It’s sort of a revolution at the moment. Recently I’ve opened my music label Renzu Music which will further give a platform to Kashmiri local talent singing both regional and Bollywood songs. I’m very looking forward to it.
2) How was your experience shooting and filmmaking in Kashmir?
It started with a lot of obstacles. I remember when I shot my first feature back in 2016 we weren’t able to get into our second schedule due to Burhan Wani protests in the valley that lasted from summer through winter and we still shot the pending 5 days with limited crew amidst severe restrictions in the valley. But now things are a bit different. With so many shoots happening in the valley over the last two years and the introduction of film policy recently things are much better and Kashmir is becoming moor film-friendly. I hope a lot more work featuring local artists emerges from the valley that focuses more on optimism and youth development.
3) Tell us about your shooting locations in Kashmir.
I love downtown Srinagar. It’s a tough one as far as security and locations but it’s a very archaic and extremely authentic representation of real Srinagar. We recently shot a music video titled ae Savere which had Soni Razdan and Taha Shah in the lead and the downtown location did add a lot of authenticity to the story. I also shot my entire short film The Good News downtown. Besides downtown, Gulmarg Pahalgam, Sonmarg remains the most famous one for music videos and Bollywood songs. However, I prefer shooting at Locations not explored before.
4) How difficult is to shoot in Kashmir considering the high altitude problem?
Not an issue at all. The altitude issue is in Ladakh. Kashmir is fine.
5) How has Renzu Films changed Kashmir’s creative industry?
We’ve tried our best and will continue to do as much work as possible in the valley. We have shot around 15 music videos, 1 feature and 2 short films over the last 2 years and that’s a lot. Most of this work featured Kashmiri talent and local production crew hence had somehow played a part to encourage locals to participate and develop skills, especially in limited resources scenarios. There’s a lot more to do and I hope we’re able to produce more content from the valley which reaches a much wider audience.
6) Tell us about your latest song in Kashmir.
We recently shot a song titled Sonn Pann (gold leaf) which was sung by Sonu Nigam and Harshdeep Kaur. Harshdeep Kaur in fact sang Kashmiri lyrics in it. The song was produced by a local Kashmiri composer Hyder Dar who is very talented and did a great job. Our next song Kahan Hai Tu was shot in picturesque Ladakh again composed by Hyder and will be released next month.
7) Where do you see Kashmir’s creative industry in the next 5 years?
I hope Bollywood comes back to the valley and shoots the way it used to back in the time before the conflict —- hence giving an opportunity to local talent in the valley and tell stories that contribute to building bridges. I just pray things to revert back to normal and politically peace prevails. I really hope so.
DANISH RENZU: @danishrenzu
RENZU FILMS: @renzufilms
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