BIG Pictures hosts’ photo exhibition of scenic Kashmir taken during the shoot of the film ‘Sikandar’

Vidhu Vinod Chopra inaugurated the photo exhibition today in Mumbai

Releasing on 21st Aug ‘Sikandar’ will release across 265 screens worldwide in addition to film rights sold in Israel, Malaysia, Sri Lanka

Mumbai, August 17, 2009: What makes Kashmir the ultimate paradise on Earth? What does this paradise look like? Curious minds wanting an answer to these questions found a cue through a visual delight at PVR Juhu today, when ace filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra inaugurated a photo exhibition of scenic Kashmir taken during the filming of Sikandar , a film written and directed by Piyush Jha produced by BIG Pictures . The film is scheduled to release on August 21, 2009 in India, US, UAE with the film rights been sold in Israel, Malaysia, Sri Lanka.

The entire cast of Sikandar was present at the inauguration of the photo exhibition – R Madhavan, Sanjay Suri, Parzaan Dastur, Ayesha Kapur, debutant Arunuday Singh. Also present were the film’s director Piyush Jha and producer Sudhir Mishra, who were ecstatic to bring their Kashmir memories in Mumbai, and relive them with fellow Mumbaikars. The exhibition will be on till August 23rd, 2009.

Sikandarshot in location in Kashmir, with a running time of 110 minutes, is about a 14-year-old Kashmiri boy’s desire to play football, but his life track changes when he stumbles upon a gun one day. The film is scheduled to release across 265 screens in India, US, UAE on August 21, 2009. The rights of the film have been sold in countries like Israel, Sri Lanka, Malaysia. Sikandarwas recently screened at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles and at the Stuttgart Film Festival.

It was befitting that filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra inaugurate the exhibition – being a Kashmiri himself, he has two of his hit films in the Valley. “I made Khamosh more than two decades ago and I again revisited the Valley for Mission Kashmir in 2000. So much has changed between this period, and yet much is still the same. I am glad that along with Sikandar this photo exhibition will bring to the fore the idea that Kashmir is indeed paradise on Earth, and this paradise in our own country,” said Chopra.

Says Mahesh Ramanathan, COO-BIG Pictures “Sikandar photo exhibition, will remind cinephiles and filmmakers that the beauty of Kashmir is unsullied by the ravages of inimical forces. Sikandar also will remind film makers of the evergreen film hits of the past that were shot extensively in Kashmir. After the release of Sikandar, hopefully more producers will return to patronise this film maker’s paradise”

Piyush Jha, “After I set the story in Kashmir, the visual metaphor I strived for, was to contrast the beauty of ‘Mother Nature’, against the cruelty of human nature. Actually, Sikandar is a film which could be set anywhere – as it deals with the universal manipulation of adolescence by the nasty games played by adults. Having said that, I’d like to add that, Sikandar is not at all a preachy film. It is an exciting suspense thriller with its heart in the right place,” said Jha.

Jha added that his actors – Parzaan and Ayesha – have proved that a typical adult hero and heroine are not necessarily the only ingredients for a film to sell. “Both Parzaan and Ayesha have done a stupendous job and this proves that a film can surely be successful with 14-year-old as protagonists, without it being termed as a ‘children’s film ‘,” Jha elaborated.

The photo exhibition is a wide-arrayed display of picturesque photographs taken during the 40-day shoot of Sikandar. While snow-capped mountains, tall chinar trees, pristine waters of the Chenab, soldiers at frequent check posts on every road, wooden houses and bridges form the fabric of the daily life of any Kashmiri, this exhibition is an eye opener to the rest of the country which has distanced itself from Kashmir. (These photos have been shot by Location Still Photographer- Pramod Gawade, Production Designer- Shruti Gupte, Writer/Director- Piyush Jha and Ayesha Kapur’s mother Jacqueline Kapur)

Sikandar casts Parzaan Dastur, the adorable little Sardar from film ‘Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai’, now in his teens, Ayesha Kapur of ‘Black’ fame as she makes her come-back as a lead actress and introduces Arunoday Singh in a key role. Also, lending their strength and verve are R. Madhavan and Sanjay Suri. The happening trio of Shankar Ehsaan- Loy, Sandesh Shandilya and Justin-Uday with lyrics by Prasoon Joshi, Neelesh Misra and Kumaar.

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