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Alia Bhatt, Shabana Azmi and Nawazuddin Siddiqui to star in Rajshree Ojha’s next?

The last directorial of Rajshree Ojha, more famously known for Sonam Kapoor starrer ‘Aisha’, was a short film titled ‘Biryani’, which was a part of the anthology, ‘X: Past Is Present’. According to a leading daily, her next film will be based on the controversial Kashmiri all-girl rock-band, Pragaash. If reports are to be believed, Alia Bhatt, Shabana Azmi and Nawazuddin Siddiqui have been approached to play the lead roles in the film.

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Pragaash was a band which had three teenage Muslim girls, guitarist and vocalist Noma Nazir Bhatt, drummer Farah Deeba and Aneeqa Khalid who used to play bass guitar. However, when the band was formed, scholars alleged the trio had broken the Islamic code. After winning their first award at a National Battle of the Bands event in Srinagar, the girls started getting death and rape threats on the phone and via Facebook.

On February 3, 2013, Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad, Kashmir’s state-appointed cleric, issued a fatwa against the group, stating that music was “not good for society” and all “the bad things happening in the Indian society are because of music”. The band got a lot of support globally, online, but unfortunately the girls decided to call off the band, towards the end of 2014.

Rajshree has been writing and researching about the film for the past one year. She has met the girls and their families, along with journalists and police officers in the region. The director even visited the Presentation Convent High School in Rajbagh where the girls studied and met their teachers.

She was planning to fly to Kashmir with a team of five for the final recce and prep, but she has postponed her trip due unrest in the Valley.

However, the shooting of the film will most probably start by early next year. Alia is reportedly roped in to play the lead vocalist of the band and will be seen singing a few songs in the film as well. Shabana Azmi has been offered  the role which will be based on Asiya Andrabi, a pro-Pakistan separatist and the founding leader of Dukhtaran-e-Millat – Daughters of the Nation – which was a part of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference in the Valley.

A source said, “Asiya Andrabi is one of the most important women separatists and often referred to as Kashmir’s Iron Lady. Her burqa and spectacles will be a crucial part of the character’s look in the film.”

Nawazuddin Siddiqui has been approached to portray the role of a police officer.

Looks like this is going to be a hub of power packed performances.

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