Siege in the Air
ENGLISH, KASHMIRI | 30 MINUTES | COLOUR | 2022
Stills from and trailer of Siege in the air.
What did it mean to live in a perpetual siege, coupled with total communication blockade on top of a triple lockdown for the women of Kashmir. This hybrid documentary will try to delve into these questions exploring how the idea of life/living, time and space completely transformed for Kashmir post Article 370 abrogation.
As a curious, dreamy, questioning, inquisitive child, growing up, life in Kashmir was restricting and hard. As a teenager, my crucial years of school were marred by unending political lockdowns and unrest in Kashmir. Amidst all this, outside my home and street, Kashmir was also undergoing a tumultuous and violent time where the priority of all story-tellers and journalists was reporting the human rights violation aspect of the conflict. Because that was truly overwhelming, crucial and necessary.
The impact of the political scenario in Kashmir as felt inside the homes, minds, lives, hearts and the everyday of people was not reported with as much urgency and focus. I had wanted to tell mundane stories of everyday survival since the times I have even begun wanting to be a writer or a storyteller. This debut film of mine is one small step in that direction. I feel the real stories or histories lie in the everyday, in mundane moments and in ordinary lives full of extraordinary survival stories.
The abrogation of article 370 and the total communication blockade that followed it was one such time when an unprecedented reality was lived by Kashmiris. Newspapers reported human rights violation, physical siege restrictions, impact on journalism, marriages being cancelled enmasse etc, but I wanted to enter domestic intimate spaces of people, ask questions about how one spends a time that has changed its usual course and what it feels to write hopeless letters to loved ones and toss in bed due to helplessness, longing and despair.
This film is one such labour of love, of stories too close to home and heart.
About the artist
Muntaha Amin completed her Masters in Mass Communication from AJK, MCRC Jamia Millia Islamia. She has been long waiting to tell everyday stories of existing, loving and resilience coming from living in the world’s highest militarized zone and from inhabiting the Kashmiri Muslim Women identity that she identifies with. She wants to be a storyteller in whatever medium allows her to be. She believes when forces are hell-bent upon erasing wajood of certain communities altogether, remembering and telling one’s stories becomes all the more urgent and necessary.
Direction, Script, Narration | Muntaha Amin
Cinematography | Ghania Siddique
Music | Reneesh Basheer, Vimal Nazar
Sound design | Mohammad Fibin
Colour | Thamjeedh
Editing | Muntaha Amin
Edit Support | Tashfeen Amin
Poem excerpts | Malik Irtiza
Lift Off Sessions First Time Filmmakers, 2022 (Online)
Lift Off Filmmakers Sessions at Pinewood Studios 2022 (Online)
International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK) 2022, Kerala
Kandhamal Film Festival on Justice, Peace and Harmony 2022 (Online)
14th Social Justice Film Festival 2022, Chennai
3rd Indian Documentary Film Festival of Bhubaneshwar, Odisha
Anti-Fascist Film Festival 2022, Kolkata
3rd Beyond Borders Feminist Film Festival (Online)
Longlist, TOTO Short Film Awards, 2023
Best Documentary Film, 2nd Himachal Short Film Festival, 2022