He wanted to be a creative person like his goldsmith father, but in a different field. Mohammad Younis Zargar, whose work as cinematographer was recently acknowledged at a film festival in Canada, tells Riyaz Ul Khaliq what it is like chasing dreams in Kashmir.
In 2012, the small film industry of Kashmir added another feather to its journey by releasing PARTAV, an educational film.
The film shot in Kashmiri language has already been screened in many major film festivals across India and Canada, though Kashmiris are yet to watch it.
The film has been widely acclaimed for its cinematography and the cinematographer has been awarded for his commendable work.
Thirty-four-years-old Mohammad Younis Zargar is the man behind the work. Younis comes from a gold smith’s family. Gold business is considered one of the more profitable businesses in Kashmir; despite that Younis chose a different profession.
“My father would buy raw gold and design various ornaments himself,” Mohammad Younis Zargar tells Kashmir Life.
The family of Younis has been into this business since decades and it was his father’s artistic side that made him take forward the creativity.
“My father has been an inspiration for me and that is why I chose art and that too of a different nature,” he says.
Zargar, after completing his 12th Standard from Govt Higher Secondary School, Jawahar Nagar, moved to New Delhi to pursue his dream.
I had an internal feeling for this art, so I wanted to get mastery in this area and I went to Delhi,” Younis says.
Cinematography is the art or science of motion picture photography. It is the technique of movie photography, including both the shooting and development of the film.
He joined Delhi University’s Autodesk Maximus where from he completed a technical course in 2d and 3d Graphics, Compositing, Multimedia, Film Editing and Cinematography in 2007 with one and a half years internship.
“I studied hard to realize my dream and give something back to my homeland,” Younis says. After completing these courses Younis joined Jona Movies for a short period of time.
“During the stint I got to work as an assistant cinematographer for three months. The time spent at Jona Movies has taught me a lot,” says Younis.
In 2008 while he was busy in Delhi in shaping his career, his parents developed some health related issues, forcing him to return home for some time.
“I had to look after my ailing parents,” says Younis.
On his return, Younis had to find a job, even though he was already working in Delhi and was planning to move abroad.
“I could not go back and worked with Valley Films production house, here in Srinagar,” Younis says, “We produced some documentary films.”
After having worked here, he joined ANHAD’s Kashmir based Media Institute. “I taught students film editing, camera rolling and many things there,” he says.
Younis has also worked and designed many magazines, brochures and many more items.
“At ANHAD, I met Dilnawaz Muntazir whom I was teaching there and some other friends with whom he planned making of a film producing company,” Younis remembers.
In 2010, they made Dithyramb Entertainment Private limited and conceived an idea of producing an educational film.
“We started working on it and in October 2011, shooting of film started,” Younis continues.
When they thought of producing that film, the infrastructure needed for its production was missing. “We could have managed the things from outside from our friends but we made sure that the film is completely Kashmir centric,” Younis says.
The friends and now business partners contributed from their own pockets and bought the film making equipments from outside J&K.
In 2012, PARTAV was in market after the team worked extensively. “I worked on Cinematography, DI Colorist, Graphics Design and post production,” he informs. And when the film was screened at Canada International Film festival, Younis Zargar’s hard work was recognized and he was awarded for that beside director and editor.
Mohammad Younis Zargar says he would continue as cinematographer. And, he feels, the film producing in Kashmir has a huge scope. Younis partly is a still photographer.
Younis Zargar is very grateful to his father who he says supported him a lot and the company he is partly managing this time. “My parents helped and supported despite knowing that film production does not have a huge scope here,” he says. “My friends and partners are also to be thanked and their help acknowledged.”