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Article 370 producer Aditya Dhar says, “I was always clear that I won’t bypass protocol,” as he reacts to the film being called agenda-driven

In less than 5 years after Article 370 was revoked in Kashmir, producer Aditya Dhar is bringing his political thriller around the same subject. Considering the sensitive subject of the movie, pulling it off is certainly not easy. And to have everything in good faith, Aditya has followed the same route he did for his directorial- URI:The Surgical Strike. Aditya has sent this Yami Gautam starrer film to the Ministry of Defence for approval and due diligence.

Talking about the same, he says, “I was always clear that I won’t bypass protocol. For Uri, I presented the script to the ADGPI [Additional Directorate General of Public Information] and took approvals from every department at every stage. The MoD had to give us clearances. I have understood two important things – first, they give better feedback than 99 percent of people from the [film] industry. Second, the procedures make our lives easier. After that, no one can harass us or stop our shoot. You have to show them your paperwork, you have to do your homework, and if your intent is correct, they will help you out.”

The Aditya Jhambale directorial stars Yami Gautam and Priya Mani in important roles, and has been entirely shot in Kashmir. Dhar even shared how the film’s shoot went on smoothly and added, “From 2019, it has been peaceful in Kashmir. Tourism has gone up. Colleges and schools are open. There is no stone-pelting, and the internet is smooth. People are seeing the good changes.”

While dealing with the sentiments of locals on an issue like this has to be dealt with care, Aditya also expressed if he is worried about hurting any sentiments. “Our film is a chronological account of what happened. The drama of it lies in how the bureaucracy, Army, MoD, and CRPF [Central Reserve Police Force] worked to ensure this operation happened peacefully. If it had failed, people would have blamed the establishment. Some people believe this is an agenda-driven film even before they have watched it. Maybe the agenda is in their head. I’ve been there before with Uri too. Every time I feel disheartened, I think of the real-life female officer on whom Yami’s character is based. A few bad words can’t dampen my spirit.”

Revealing why he did not direct Article 370, Aditya shared, “I was to direct a movie in 2009, then in 2011, then in 2013, and so on. My first film finally happened in 2019. I waited for a decade to get to that point. In my early years, I [was made to feel] that my PR skills and who I hang out with mattered more than my talent. I wanted to change that. I met Aditya Jambhale during the National Awards. He told me he tried assisting in Mumbai but wasn’t entertained because he didn’t come from a certain stratum. I saw myself in him. I want to platform meritorious people. When I did Uri, people didn’t see Vicky Kaushal as a star. Yami started with Vicky Donor [2012], her career should have skyrocketed. If a star kid did that debut film, they would be at the Oscars! When this story came to us, I realized Jambhale was the right director for it. He gets the nuances of a political story. He was the most deserving person for the film, and that’s the culture I want to maintain in my studio.”

From Jio Studios and the maker of Uri: The Surgical Strike, comes Article 370, a high-octane action political drama, headlined by Yami Gautam and directed by National Award-winner Aditya Suhas Jambhale. Produced by Jyoti Deshpande, Aditya Dhar, and Lokesh Dhar, the film is slated to release in cinemas worldwide on 23rd February 2024.

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