My heart reaches out to all those grieved by Vinod’s passing away today. He leaves a void in all our lives. Many for what he stood for and for me what I had imagined him to be in Zooni in the way we had dreamt and which can never be made. Vinod playing Sultan Yusuf Shah Chak, was the driving force of the film. One kept hoping he will conquer his illness till he finally succumbed to his fate.
Vinod brings back the four seasons of 1989 scheduled for making Zooni. From the snow to spring to summer and the autumn, Zooni based on the 16th queen of Kashmir, Habba Khatoon, played by charismatic Dimple Kapadia was to capture the jamevar of a palette that is so specially Kashmir. Vinod was part of this miasma of nature unlike a Bollywood star but an integral part of the texture of 16th century Kashmir so lovingly crafted by Mary McFadden and our design team. I bought a special grey horse from Qadiyan who I named Shams. He was a wild horse never broken in. It was on Vinod to give the perfect a shot on the unruly stallion. But he did it. He was a real man in every sense of the word. The Sultan will now never come back to his troubled valley and his beloved queen Habba Khatoon.” Muzaffar Ali