• Publish Date: Jun 24 2018 10:51PM
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  • Updated Date: Jun 24 2018 10:51PM

Bashir Budgami, the maker of yesteryear’s blockbuster HazaarDaastaan, laments the degradation of Kashmir television


Bashir Budgami, the director of popular television serials like Hazaar Daastaan and films Habba Khatoon and Rasool Mir, is concerned over the falling standards of television in Kashmir.

At present Budgami could be seen spending his middle age days desperate to witness a shift in Kashmir television, but what stops him is “lack of mismanagement in Doordarshan.”

“From local Srinagar station up to the Doordarshan directorate in New Delhi, there is complete mismanagement and lack of transparency. Because of poor funding, it is in total mess. Majority of employees are jobless, aimless and hopeless,” he says.

“It is useless to discuss present television in Kashmir. If I sometimes pay visit to Srinagar Kendra, my heart cries out and I get nostalgic, because that aroma and essence is missing. There is no staff, they face lack of funds for producing serials, they face backlogs too. It has been five years now that any Kashmiri based TV serial has been shot in local Kendra. The employees are not at fault, Central Doordarshan is responsible for this mess,” he says regretfully.

“Unfortunately we don’t have corporate houses here who could sponsor our programmes; with the result, the Kashmiri serial is crumbling. The present generation doesn’t have the concept of films like HabbaKhatoon which is quite disturbing. Doordarshan Srinagar doesn’t have archival footage of these films and serials to replay them again. They play trash these days.

“I would love to give them my retrieved film of HazaarDaastaan, HabbaKhatoon. They are willing to play them again in a new format, but let the electricity situation improve here so that people in villages can watch them in evenings. I know the serials will get overwhelming response, like in the past.

“At present, every artist of Doordarshan is out of work. The fault lies in Doordardashan headquarters, they don’t satisfy the taste and needs of audience. Earlier they used to commission programmes, those programs would get repeated for years. They repeat those programs again which have gone older, with the result they have lost the grip of the audience.

“There should be immediate commissioning of programmes and acquisition of programmes on royalty basis. Let them allot good funds which will allow our artists to work again. We don’t have dearth of fine artists, our state has talent. Let Central Doordarshan stop turning a blind eye towards Srinagar Kendra.

Budgami believes the present Doordarshanprogrammes are shabby and unrealistic with no script and story. “There is dearth of experienced staff and funds are not available.”

When asked is it because of digital revolution which has prompted audience here to forget what Doordarshan was producing before, he answers, “Internet or digital revolution can’t be substitute to the field of cinema, they are both separate genres. We have good audience in Kashmir, if we sell our programmes in our native language we will receive overwhelming response. If HabbaKhatoon or film on AhedRaaz gets cinematic release, we will definitely get massive response from audience. There is no dearth of audience in Kashmir, people of this state are tightly attached to their ethos.

“I regret that after my retirement I couldn’t meet the expectations of my audience because of lackadaisical approach of Doordarshan towards our Kendra. Current situation has also made us uncomfortable not to shoot.

“Since 2012 Doordarshan Srinagar has not done any commissioning of programs. Director General Doordarshan should revitalize the entire system, they should immediately do commissioning of programmes and acquisition,” he says.

According to Budgami, Kashmir presently lacks cinematic sense and script writers who could reflect the true colours of Kashmir.

“It is a matter of grave concern that our cinematic culture is decaying, but I am at the same time optimistic and hopeful to see this industry flourishing because our generation is attached towards their ethos, they are eager to endorse their language.

“So far three different chief ministers of our state have requested Doordarshan to allot proper funds for the revival of production, but they have turned deaf ears. New Delhi runs disinformation campaign against Kashmir, had cinemas in Kashmir been functional, we would have our own film industry.

“I am still enthusiastic to do more cinematic production for my audience, but lack of funds discourages me.”

Born in October 1947, Bashir Budgami did his masters in Urdu from University of Kashmir, after which he was appointed as lecturer in Amar Singh College.

After a two-year carrier in education, he switched to television when he was appointed in Doordarshan Srinagar as producer in 1972. In 1982, he was promoted as assistant station director, later as chief producer. From 1998, he worked in central production service New Delhi for four years where he worked on several films, directed and scripted some Kashmiri serials. As a freelancer he has produced some serials also after his retirement in 2008.

Bashir Budgami produced and directed first tele film titled Rasul Mir in 1975 for Doordarshan Srinagar. The film represented India in international TV film festival at Prague.

He has produced and directed first full length TV feature film of Kashmir titled HabbaKhatoon in 1976. He produced and directed 52 episodes of HazaarDastaan, which created history of sorts.

He has written, produced and directed first Urdu TV feature film Nazoo in 1982 for Doordarshan Srinagar. Under Indian classics, in 2008-09 he directed and produced four-episode serial HeemalNagrai. He has produced TarakMaal in Kashmiri language (72 episodes), DhoopChaon (eight episodes) in Urdu. In 1974, he produced SODE TE BODE (30 episodes) and JumeJarman in 1989. Besides, Bashir has directed 26 episodes of Folklore of Kashmir in 2007.

Budgami has received Jhelum art media award for best feature film HabbaKhatoon, best direction award by Jammu and Kashmir academy of art, culture and languages for play Tim Goreh Gaye. He has been awarded for HazaarDaastaan as best serial and direction.

He is the founding president of National Theatre Kashmir.