Experiencing Interruptions?

A Ballad of Maladies

Of folk, rock and hip-hop, this film is a portrait of those musicians and artists who have turned their art into weapons of resistance during periods of heightened state repression and violence in Indian-administered Kashmir. A departure from Kashmir's Orientalist stereotype of a 'paradise' unfurls a transformed cultural landscape of the deeply militarised valley, where the spiritual ideals of Sufiyana music and traditional poetry metamorphose into political lyricism of modern Hip Hop and Rock. The cultural practitioners of this film evoke collective memory of their people and the threads of the region's folk history as they continue to negotiate with questions of survival, resistance and freedom – all deeply embroiled in the complex conflict of Kashmir.

  • Tushar Madhav
  • Sarvnik Kaur
  • Sarvnik Kaur
  • Rajiv Mehrotra
  • Zareef A Zareef
    Key Cast
  • MC Kash
    Key Cast
  • Showkat Kathju
    Key Cast
  • Mir Suhail
    Key Cast
  • Anees Zargar
    Key Cast
  • Parvaaz
    Key Cast
  • Tushar Madhav
  • Nagaraj Rathinam
  • Tushar Madhav
  • Hemant Rao
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    History, Music, Conflict
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 25 minutes 35 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 30, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    29,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Hindi, Kashmiri
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • 64th National Film Awards of India
    New Delhi
    Best Direction Debut (Non-Fiction)
  • 11th Film Southasia
    November 4, 2017
    Best Film - Ram Bahadur Trophy
  • 15th Mumbai International Film Festival
    January 31, 2018
    Official Selection
  • 10th International Documentary & Short Film Festival of Kerala IDSFFK
    June 19, 2017
    Best Film, Long Documentary
  • 7th South Asian Film Festival of Montreal
    November 4, 2017
    Canadian Premiere
    Official Selection
  • 6th DC South Asian Film Festival
    United States
    September 9, 2017
    North American Premiere
  • 14th Jecheon International Film & Music Festival
    Korea, Republic of
    August 11, 2018
    Korean Premiere
    Official Selection
  • 11th SiGNS Festival
    September 27, 2017
    Official Selection
  • 12th IDPA Awards for Excellence in Documentary
    Best Script - Gold (Feature Doc); Certificate of Merit (Feature Documentary)
  • 13th IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival
    New Delhi
    March 3, 2017
    Official Selection, Non-competitive
  • 16th Open Frame Film Festival 2016
    New Delhi
    September 20, 2016
    Indian Premiere
    Closing Film
Director Biography - Tushar Madhav, Sarvnik Kaur

Tushar and Sarvnik are independent filmmakers based out of Mumbai. They are post-graduates of mass communication from AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Milia Islamia University, New Delhi.

Tushar has edited several feature and short documentary films besides teaching film production at universities and colleges. Sarvnik is also a writer in the Hindi film industry and her first book 'Where Arrows Meet' was published in 2012.

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Director Statement

Chance discovery of a song, a palpitating craft of storytelling, lure of the mystical valleys of Kashmir – it is hard to say which came when and how this project came about. Handcrafted over about 3 years of research and production in the heart and hinterlands of Kashmir valley, this documentary reintroduces Kashmir as a deeply militarised conflict zone departing from its orientalist stereotypes.

The tradition of oral and aural history in Kashmir is centuries old; such accounts often contradict with the official accounts of history recorded by the state. Incorporation of these historical accounts into musical art forms such as the 'Ladishah' is a unique folk indulgence of Kashmiris that dates back to the years when Kashmir was refereed to as 'Mini-Iran'. This discovery of people's history in the region's music lends a context to understand the emerging voices of resistance and their resonance in today's Indian-administered Kashmir. In the summer of 2010, a protest rap-song created and sung by a young Kashmiri boy broke the internet with cascading effects; he became nothing short of a legend in Kashmir as he continued to create a hip-hop revolution in the valley using the internet and his songs as a medium to narrate the region's local history to the world. Today he refers to himself as the 'Angrezi Ladishah' of Kashmir rooting for his history that goes back a thousand years.

As Indian filmmakers in Kashmir this film is not only our journey into the rich history and traditions of a conflicted region but also a process of shedding the baggages in our understanding of Kashmir's history and its complexities, which pre dates the creation of independent India and Pakistan in 1947.