Laugh and Live

Chances are you might have come across Xaid Film videos many times and shared a laugh too. Saima Bhat meets the brain behind these funny videos to tell his story

Xaid Kashmiri

At 18 this Pampore teenager is already a star of sorts among entertainment deficient young Kashmiris. His homemade videos, some 70 of them, are based on a simple theme: Asiv te lasiv (laugh and live). But instead of using his real name on his videos he goes by his nom de plume: Xaid Kashmiri.

Xaid Kashmiri is no ordinary teenager with an appetite for technology and humour, he has a proper following on social media platforms like Facebook and Whatsapp. “I feel 25 years of conflict has left us sad. We need to look for reasons to smile,” says Xaid.

Since 2012, in order to bring that smile on the faces of people, Xaid is making ‘funny’ animated videos in chaste Kashmiri using a microphone, a personal computer, his cell-phone and a few voice modulation software.

“I first shared my video amongst my friends, who in turn shared it with their friends,” says Xaid.

Three years and some 70 videos later Xaid has grown as an artist. His company, Xaid Films, now has a dedicated Facebook fan page which has been liked by some 30 thousand people, mostly young Kashmiris. “There is an interesting story behind this Facebook fan page,” says Xaid.

The first phone call Xaid received appreciating his work was from an ‘unknown’ person. “The caller told me that his mother is fighting the last stage of brain tumour. And the only time she smiles or laughs is when I show her your videos,” recalls Xaid. “He told me that she is otherwise in immense pain.”

The same unknown person later registered his Facebook page and he is the one who is operating it since. “That first phone call made me take my work more seriously,” says Xaid.

Xaid’s journey with stories and animation started when he was in 6th standard. “Unlike my classmates and friends, when I was a kid, I used to draw my stories instead of writing them,” says Xaid.

Xaid would make a graphical representation of the different scene with the help of a pen and paper.

In 2012, after appearing in class 10th examination Xaid made his first video, a short story that made fun of living through energy deficit Kashmir winters. “I shared that video with my friends just to show them my work. And they liked it and further shared it amongst their friends. That is how it became part of a chain,” says Xaid.

A few days later, one of the Xaid’s relatives shared a “very funny” video with him. “I was shocked to see my own creation being circulated and shared,” says Xaid.

But instead of telling his relatives that he has made it, Xaid preferred to remain anonymous and enjoy.

Making a funny video, as Xaid likes to call them, is not an easy job. It takes around 20 days to create a single video. It is a curfew-like situation at his house whenever it is a recording day. All production work is being done in his bedroom.

“I don’t have any professional lab. So I do everything manually at home,” says Xaid.

Before recording a new video Xaid goes out to request kids in the area to remain quiet. “I have to shut all the windows and doors to be sure that no unwanted noise is heard in the video,” says Xaid.

That is not the only thing that Xaid has to take care of before putting a video in circulation. He has to get all his videos passed by his mother first. “She acts as my censor board. Nothing goes online without her approval,” says Xaid with a smile.

Xaid insists that making “funny videos” is just a hobby for him and not a career option.

Xaid says he wanted to become an aeronautical or robotic engineer, but being the only child of his parents, he couldn’t go outside the state for studies.

At such a young age Xaid is conscious that it is necessary to preserve the language in order to save Kashmir’s cultural heritage.

Xaid believes that Kashmiri is treated as a second class language in its own land, which is unfortunate. “I make almost all my videos in Kashmiri on purpose. I want the younger generation to stay in touch with our mother tongue,” says Xaid.

Xaid says he doesn’t make videos to earn money. “I don’t charge anything for downloading or watching of his videos,” claims Xaid. “I want to share happiness for free. Every single smile is my desire.”

Xaid’s latest video titled: yeith wawakh tueith lonakh (as you sow so shall you reap), was the biggest hit. It was themed around increased incidents of burglary in his locality. “Real life incidents always help me in weaving my graphical stories,” says Xaid.

During 2014 parliament elections Xaid was approached by many political parties. They wanted him to make same kind of funny videos, however, loaded with their political messages. “I refused to work for any politician. My art is for common masses,” says Xaid.

For this youngster making people smile is more satisfying than making money.

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