Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, the jury head of the 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), on Monday described Hindi film ‘The Kashmir Files’ as “propaganda” and “vulgar”.
In his speech at the closing ceremony of IFFI 2022, Mr. Lapid said he was “disturbed and shocked” to see the film being screened at the film festival.
“All of us were disturbed and shocked by the movie ‘The Kashmir Files’. It felt to us like a propaganda and vulgar movie that was inappropriate for an artistic and competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.
“I feel comfortable to openly share this feeling with you since the spirit of the festival can truly accept critical discussion which is essential for art and life”, Mr. Lapid said.
‘The Kashmir Files’, which was released in theatres on March 11, was part of the Indian Panorama Section at IFFI and was screened on November 22.
Written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri and produced by Zee Studios, the film depicts the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from Kashmir following the killings of people from the community by Pakistan-backed terrorists.
It stars Anupam Kher, Darshan Kumaar, Mithun Chakraborty and Pallavi Joshi among others.
‘Kashmir Files’ is not on vulgarity but on reality: Darshan Kumaar
Mr. Lapid's remarks did not go down well with many. Actor Darshan Kumaar, who played one of the key roles in 'The Kashmir Files', too, reacted to Mr. Lapid's comments. Speaking to ANI, Mr. Darshan said, "Everyone has their own individual opinions on anything they see and perceive... But one can't deny the fact that The Kashmir files are a film which has depicted the actual plight of the Kashmiri Pandit community... who are still fighting for justice against the brutal acts of terrorism... so this film is not on vulgarity but in reality."
Anupam Kher reacts to the controversy
Mr. Kher said it is “shameful” for Mr. Lapid to term the film “propaganda, vulgar” at the festival’s closing ceremony.
“If the holocaust was right then the exodus of Kashmiri pandits is also right. This seems pre-planned because immediately after it the tool-kit gang became active. It’s shameful for him to make a statement like this even though he comes from a community of Jews who suffered from the holocaust,” Mr. Kher told ANI. ” So, by making a statement like this, he has also pained those people who suffered this tragedy. I would just say may God give him wisdom so that he doesn’t use the tragedy of thousands of people to fulfill his aim on stage,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)