Zero Bridge is a dramatic tale about the individual psychology of mass misery in the police state of Kashmir. The film is currently having its US theatrical premiere at the Film Forum in NYC, and is available on DVD outside this country.
But Zero Bridge is likewise the inauguration, or rather rebirth, of cinema in Kashmir, which hasn’t seen a movie made there in decades. And where the theaters have been closed down, and are now expropriated as military headquarters.
The movie is also the first feature directed by 29 year old Tariq Tapa, a US based filmmaker and son paradoxically, of a Kashmiri born Muslim father and American Jewish mother. The gritty tale, crafted in the social realist tradition, follows the struggles and misfortunes of 17 year old orphan and pickpocket Dilawar, as he survives poverty and oppression on a daily basis. And finds himself drawn into a relationship with Bani, a twentysomething older woman who is in fact, unbeknownst to her, among his robbery victims. And who is being forced against her will into an arranged marriage.
In this radio interview for The Arts Express, Tapa shares his thoughts with me about the current political struggles in Kashmir, and his life journey to this movie. The audio conversation is followed by Kashmiri rap performer and activist MC Kash, putting rage into music with ‘Kashmir: The Valley Of Death And Occupation’:
Zero Bridge is screening through March 1st at the Film Forum in NYC, West Houston Street (W. of 6th Ave) with screenings daily at 1:15, 3:15pm, 6:00pm, 8:00pm, and 10:00pm.
Zero Bridge (2008, 96 mins.) Written and Directed by Tariq Tapa. Producers: Hilal Ahmed Langoo, Josee Lajoie. Editors: Josee Lajoie, Tariq Tapa. Sound editor: Ben Huff. Cast: Mohamad Emran Tapa (Dilawar), Ali Muhammed Dar (Uncle Ali), Taniya Khan (Bani Sheikh). Kashmir, India / USA. In Kashmiri & Urdu with English subtitles. A Film Desk / Artists Public Domain release.