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Writer and producer Gaya Bhola on bringing her powerful Kashmir set story to life


INSPIRATION: A still from Half Widow
INSPIRATION: A still from Half Widow

YOU can find some of the best film treasures hidden on streaming sites and one of these is emotional drama Half Widow, which is available on Amazon Prime.

The Kashmir set story revolves around a young wife who goes in search of her kidnapped husband, whilst the 1999 Kargil War rages and must deal with her brother getting arrested.

The acclaimed film has been written and produced by US-based Gaya Bhola, who brought the story to life with the help of the UK-based Rock On Music.

Eastern Eye caught up with Gaya Bhola to talk about Half Widow.

Gaya Bhola

What inspired the story of the film?
My travels through Kashmir in my childhood and adult years inspired the story of Half Widow. Nature is my inspiration and the pristine beauty of Kashmir has always moved my soul. However, there is a great contrast to my childhood and present memories.

Tell us about the main characters?
Half Widow revolves around Kashmiri orphans, Neela and her brother Zakir who have been brought up by their aunt. Though there are extreme difficulties in the external environment, their home is a warm place where they grow their dreams. The force of their dreams are countered by a hostile and unsafe environment, where it is hard for life’s basic dreams to flourish. But challenges don’t stop the two endearing orphans.

What was the biggest challenge while making it?
The biggest of all for me as a producer was getting the finances together for each stage of the film. That actually required the most creative thinking as this is an independent film venture. It was all worth it for the applause we have received.

The film has done the festival circuit and won awards. but what has been your most memorable highlight of the journey?
We are fortunate to have the awards, but the moments most remembered are sitting with the team and planning the next step. We would put out our wish list and the steps to achieve it, and pray our way through. The movie was filmed in four schedules with Danish Renzu, a Kashmiri filmmaker as director. I discussed everything with my team before making my final decisions as a producer.

What is your favourite moment in the movie?
The moment when Neela makes a new choice, knowing she has left no stone unturned to bring things into balance.

Who are you hoping connects with the movie?
Every heart that carries a dream and knows that belief, courage and strength are needed to realise them.

What can we expect next from you?
Human stories addressing social issues and the journey of the common man. Next release is Mr Paanwala, which is beautifully directed and produced by Vijay Bhola of Rock On Music. It has amazing music. I loved writing this gripping story about families who expand by sending their children abroad, but what happens to the parents and children within that paradigm. We see it around us all the time, and my heart is moved by both sides.

What is your own favourite movie?
Love Story with Ryan O’Neil and Ali McGraw. I also love Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. I believe deeply in love. It reflects purity and truth and is a reflection of God’s unconditional love for us.

What inspires you?
Deep human stories about the journey of the heart inspire me. People face many challenges in life, but those of the heart make us vulnerable. Nature, stories of courage and transcendence also inspire me.

Instagram: @HalfWidowMovie