Amid the backdrop of the Kashmiri conflict, a young woman must come to grips with the disappearance of her doting husband and embarks on harrowing journey of self-discovery and agency.
A young Kashmiri woman, Neela is enjoying her new marriage. Her doting husband Khalid has welcomed her little brother Zakir into their home. But outside their walls, the Kargil War of 1999 rages, and suddenly Khalid is kidnapped by paramilitary forces in the middle of the night. So begins Neela's journey as a half-widow, held in limbo without her husband and unable to start a new life. The search for Khalid consumes her. Times passes, as does the war, and yet still Neela learns nothing. Her sorrow becomes a shackle and apathy for life settles in. Neela's sense of self is all but lost, consumed with the fact she is without her husband, a man she loved. But after Zakir is arrested defending her from police, a new light of hope flickers as she recognizes the importance of family sacrifice, igniting inside her a new quest for meaning and fulfillment. Director Danish Renzu brings a jarring authenticity to the film, having witnessed stories like Neela's while growing up in the Kashmir Valley. Half Widow delivers an emotional realism that powers the film as Neela pulls herself from the depths of despair and takes on the challenge of creating a new life.
A native of Kashmir and alumnus of UCLA, Danish Renzu hopes to inspire a new generation of Kashmiri filmmakers to practice their art as a force for unity in the conflicted region. He has directed several short films including award winning "In Search of America, Inshallah" (2014). His next film titled The Illegal stars Academy winning Life of Pi star Suraj Sharma in the lead, currently in post. The film explores a journey of a immigrant in Los Angeles and his journey towards the American dream. He is also currently directing Pashmina, set for release next year and telling the tales of several Kashmiri lives upended by decades of strife. The film comprises of a stellar cast and crew.
Sponsored by Sound Publishing Eastside
- Director: Danish Renzu
- Principal Cast: Neelofar Hamid, Shahnawaz Bhat, Mir Sarwar, Yasmeena Wani
- Premiere Status: Seattle
- Country: India
- Year: 2017
- Running Time: 91 minutes
- Producer: Danish Renzu, Gaya Bhola
- Screenplay: Danish Renzu, Gaya Bhola
- Cinematographers: Antonio Cisneros
- Editors: Nitin Baid
- Music: Alokananda Dasgupta
- Website: Official Film Website
- Filmography: Debut Feature Film
- Language: Urdu, Kashmiri
- Has Subtitles: Yes
- Format: DCP