After the the recent morphed black-and-white photographs of celebrities with wounds from pellet guns went viral, a Kashmiri cartoonist has used the iconic Kashmir Ki Kali (1964) film poster to convey the brutal effects of pellets fired by crowd-control guns.
Srinagar-based cartoonist Mir Suhail modified the poster of the blockbuster romance starring Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore to show the actress with a pellet injury in one eye. He got with the idea while watching Shah Rukh Khan defuse a bomb in Kashmir in the 2012 film Jab Tak Hai Jaan on television. He realised the power of Bollywood and the need to present an alternative to mainstream narratives.
"I thought, what would Kashmir Ki Kali look like if it had existed now?" Suhail said. "It was a kind of protest. I want to make people realise that they should view the Kashmir situation from a critical rather than a simplistic perspective." Suhail further extended the idea to a series of famous paintings, including Mona Lisa, Girl With a Pearl Earring, Whistler's Mother and a self-portrait by Vincent Van Gogh. Through these famous paintings, I also hope to reach an international audience and make them understand what's happening in Kashmir," Suhail said.
Over 300 people have been afflicted with injuries from the pellet guns used by security forces, many of them resulting in permanent disfigurement or loss of eyesight.
Suhail is not the only Kashmiri artist to depict the recent conflict in the state. For instance, artist Masood Hussain made a series of sketches of young Kashmiri boys with shrunken pupils. The communication BlackSheep.Works and the human rights group Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society also released three posters in Braille as part of the #KashmirBlindSpot campaign against the use of pellet guns.