By Raqib Hameed Naik, TwoCircles.net
Srinagar: In the first week of September, when protests were at peak in Srinagar district of Kashmir, Purtas Jalal, a 13-year old girl was sitting idle at home in the Hawal locality of the city. The schools had been shut for more than a month, and with nothing much to do, the teenager, who studies in Class 8, decided to help her mother in cleaning the house with the help of her 10-year old brother Zameem Jalal, who is in Class 5. Both the kids study in Linton Hall School, Rajbagh, Srinagar.
As she was moving the heaps of newspapers collected in the house, she came across the cover of local magazine, Kashmir life, which featured the story of Noori, the world’s first Pashmina goat. Pashmina is a fine type of cashmere wool.
The goat was called Noorie, meaning “the light”. The goat was cloned by the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology scientists led by Dr Riaz Ahmad Shah in March 2012.
Reading the news, Purtas was immediately struck with an idea and she called her younger brother Zameem and showed him the story. Both kids went to their father, Jalal ud Din Baba a valley-based top documentary filmmaker, and proposed the idea of making a science documentary film over the cloned Pashmina goat.
“I have deep interest in science and documentary making obviously because I have seen my father making documentaries and people applauding his work. I was initially thinking of making documentary on silk, but it was too dangerous for us to move outside the Srinagar district during the protest,” Purtas told Twocircles.net.
“But when I came across the magazine which had published the article way back in 2012.I was really impressed and decided to go for it,” she added.
The idea was ready, the plan and script was in place. When both the kids and their father reached the university on the outskirts of the Srinagar, they found a big lock on the gate due to the ongoing protests.
“We contacted Dr Riaz Ahmad Shah, the man behind Noori in September this year. He was not in favor of doing the documentary during the unrests as the university was close. But later in October they granted us permission,” Zameem Jalal told Twocircles.net.
Both the kids started shooting and interviewing on October 12th and finished it by October 15th this year.
“We put in all our efforts and thought from different perspectives how to make it better and give it a professional look. As we have grown seeing our father doing hard work on documentaries, we knew that it’s wasn’t an easy job for us and that too at this age,” says Purtas.
The documentary film was titled as “Noori-The Light” and was ready by third week of October which was later submitted for International Science Film Festival- 2016,which was jointly organized by Department of Science & Technology, Department of Earth Sciences, CSIR.
On Sunday, December 11, the documentary film won the best film award in category B (film by students, colleges, universities of India) in the science film festival
Both the young filmmakers were given a trophy, certificate of merit and also a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, union minister for science & technology. Nearly 3,000 delegates were present at the occasion besides scientists, researchers.
Noori – The Light was regarded as professionally brilliant film with in-depth research and direction besides effective narrative and cause and effect.
“What moment could be for bigger for me than seeing both my kids regarded as the future science filmmakers from Kashmir,” said proud Jalal ud Din Baba.
Purtas and Zameem want to become scientists when they grow up and continue with their passion of making science documentaries side by side.