Mirza Waheed's 'The Collaborator' Set For Cinematic Debut


(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer) Srinagar- The international bestseller 'The Collaborator' by London-based Kashmiri writer Mirza Waheed is set to captivate audiences in a cinematic adaptation. The poignant story that moved readers worldwide will now unfold visually, with its production having recently wrapped up.
Mulberry Films, a production house from the US, has joined hands with Metro Productions from Georgia to bring the acclaimed author's narrative set against Kashmir's tumultuous political backdrop in the 1990s, to life on the silver screen.

“The first novel I wrote many years ago is being adapted into a film,” Mirza Waheed wrote on X.

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According to Variety, a Los Angeles based entertainment news magazine, British actor Rudi Dharmalingam, known for 'The Lazarus Project' and 'Wakefield,' takes on the role of Captain Kadian, while newcomer Nikhil Singh Rai secured the part of the Boy after a rigorous two-year search. The film also features talents like Nitin Ganatra, Vikram Kapadia, and Meera Ganatra.

The executive producers of the film are MxW Ventures and CnR Films, and its international sales will be handled by Locomotive Entertainment.
Travis Hodgkins, producer of A New Christmas, makes his directorial debut with this project.

The project stands as the second collaboration this year between producers Rashaana Shah and Cristy Coors Beasley, following their work on the sports drama“American Underdog.” The film boasts a talented crew including cinematographer Johan Holmqvist, editor Jamie Kirkpatrick, and composer Wayne Sharpe.

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“As war rages in India's volatile border region of Kashmir, a young boy is recruited by an Indian army officer to perform a grim task, to go into the valley where Kashmiri rebels have been killed and retrieve their weapons and ID cards,” reads the description of the film on
IMDB.

Set along the Line of Control, the novel revolves around an unnamed Kashmiri boy in his late teens, who serves as the protagonist. As the son of the village Sarpanch, he witnesses the gradual disappearance of his friends, who join the militancy one by one, leaving the once-thriving community devastated.

Amidst the chaos, the boy remains one of the few individuals who choose to stay behind. However, his life takes an unexpected turn when a Captain of the Indian Army enlists his help in tracking the soldiers' kills. His grim task involves collecting IDs from the deceased, fearing, each day, that he will discover one of his friends, lying amongst the dead. Caught between loyalty to his community and the complexity of his new role, the young protagonist finds himself embroiled in a dangerous game.

Waheed's unflinching portrayal of moral dilemmas amid conflict through deeply human characters had struck a chord with readers worldwide. Through its complex characters and nuanced exploration of a sensitive period, the novel provided an intimate glimpse into Kashmir's realities. The novel explores the fragile dynamics of trust, the harsh realities of war, and the impact of armed conflicts on individuals and communities.

The Collaborator, was an international bestseller, a finalist for the Guardian First Book Award and the Shakti Bhat Prize, and was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize. In 2011, Waterstones selected it as part of its big literary debut promotion, 'Waterstones 11'. It was also a book of the year for The Telegraph, New Statesman, Financial Times, Business Standard, and Telegraph India, among others.

“The book shattered and shredded me emotionally,” Mulberry Films Producer Gopi Sait had said in a
newspaper
interview in 2013 when the novel was acquired for a film by the New York-based independent film company.

“Before reading 'The Collaborator', I read many pieces on Kashmir and had seen some Indian films on the Kashmir issue. But I was quite disappointed that in all that melodramatic nonsense the rich meaning of a story like this was being lost,” Gopi was quoted as saying by the
Kashmir Reader.

“I re-read 'The Collaborator' again over a period of month, slowly taking in the ideas and larger context of the story. I was left speechless with what Mirza has achieved and brought to life with such honesty and integrity,” Gopi said.
“I felt that this was important on so many levels. Mirza had done something extraordinary, something so special here with this book that I was compelled to ask him if we could possibly tackle this book into a feature film adaptation of his beloved work.

Gopi had informed back then that the film will be shot in English and local dialects, but predominantly it will be in English since the book is also available in English.“We want to reach out to as far as the littlest corner around the earth with this film, so English makes more sense.”

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