Director Vivek Agnihotri’s film The Kashmir Files that meticulously documents the planned attempt at ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley has been labelled vulgar and a work of propaganda by the jury’s head Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid.
The film was screened at the prestigious International Film Festival of India in Goa.
“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,” Lapid said in his address at the event.
The characters in the film were based on real life references. For example the character we encounter at the beginning of the film, BK Ganjoo was a Kashmiri Pandit who hid in the rice and was shot to death by militants after Ganjoo’s neighbours gave away his whereabouts.
Similarly, a woman is forced to eat rice soaked in the blood of her husband is Sharda Pandit. Later in the movie, she is seen in the role of a woman who was molested by militants and was cut alive with a carpenter saw.
Lapid is known to be a controversial filmmaker. His films are critical of nationalism and Israeli identity.
What is ironic is that he was chosen as the head of the jury at the 53rd IFFI which had a special session celebrating India-Israel relationship.
At the event, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur speaking in the presence of makers of the mega-hit Netflix series ‘Fauda’ said, “The Netflix series FAUDA has been a hit in India and received a thunderous reception during the IFFI premier of their 4th season. Israel and India can be leading partners to propel the creative economy sector.”
He further said, “Israel and India are both leading startup destinations of the world, especially in the Tech sector. India and Israel share an extraordinary bond. In the times ahead I am confident we`ll see collaborative productions, untold captivating stories and cutting-edge innovation emerging. This is just the beginning of our creative economies! When hearts and minds meet; a thrilling story awaits us! After watching Fauda, I realise it’s the right time to forge a relationship with Israel.”
After its release the Kashmir Files had taken the box office by storm. Directed by Vivek Agnihotri, the movie narrates the plight of Kashmiri Hindus who were forced to leave the valley in 1990 by the militants in vivid details. The film raked in 200 crores at the box office.