The Big ‘The Kashmir Files’ At Film Festival Controversy
The words of an Israeli director who is on the jury for the Indian Film Festival, referring to “The Kashmir Files” as “vulgar and propaganda,” have caused a significant uproar.
The comments made by festival jury chair Nadav Lapid are “totally his personal view,” according to the jury. The board’s response comes amid a dispute over the remarks made by the international jury’s chair and Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid at the International Film Festival of India’s closing ceremony (IFFI). Mr. Lapid claimed Wednesday that the jury’s reaction to the film’s festival premiere was “disturbed and appalled.”
“It seemed to us like a propagandist movie inappropriate for an artistic, competitive section of such a prestigious film festival. I feel totally comfortable to share openly these feelings here with you on stage. Since the spirit of having a festival is to accept also a critical discussion, which is essential for art and for life,” he said.Vivek Agnihotri’s film “The Kashmir Files,” which he also wrote and directed, is based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley during the militancy’s peak in the 1990s. The movie, which was supported by BJP leaders, was a box office hit but was accused of inflaming racial tensions.
Despite being a member of a group that experienced the horrors of the Holocaust, Mr. Lapid has come under fire for allegedly being insensitive to the suffering of Kashmiri Pandits. While some have praised him for “calling out propaganda,” others have criticised him.
The IFFI Jury Board today released a statement amid the controversy, claiming that Mr. Lapid’s comments about the film were his “personal opinion” and had “nothing to do” with the board.
“In the official presentation of the Jury Board to the Festival Director and in the official Press Conference, where we 4 juries were present and interacted with the press, we never mentioned anything about our likes or dislikes. Both were our official collective opinion,” said the board, which had four members besides Mr Lapid. “As a juror, we are assigned to judge the technical, aesthetic quality and socio-cultural relevance of the film. We don’t indulge in any kind of political comments on any film and if it is done, it is completely in personal capacity,” it added in its statement. Actor Anupam Kher, who played the protagonist in the movie, too, slammed the Israel filmmaker for his remarks. “May God give him wisdom. If the holocaust is right, then the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits is also right,” the actor said.
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