Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, whose comments terming 'The Kashmir Files' as "vulgar" and "propaganda" led to a row, has now got support from three others jury members of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa. A statement posted on Twitter by jury member Jinko Gotoh, along with Pascale Chavance and Javier Angulo Barturen as undersigned, said the entire jury knew — and agreed with — what Mr Lapid said as jury chief.
This leaves only Sudipto Sen — the lone Indian filmmaker on the IFFI International Competition jury — claiming that Mr Lapid made the statement "in his personal capacity".
Mr Lapid has since said he did not mean to deny the tragedy of Kashmiri Pandits, but had only commented on the movie's "cinematic manipulations", and that the tragedy "deserves a serious movie".
This was underlined by the three fellow jurors in their joint statement.
"At the festival's closing ceremony, Nadav Lapid, the jury's president, made a statement on behalf of the jury members stating: 'We were all of disturbed and shocked by the 15th film, The Kashmir Files, that felt to us like a vulgar propaganda movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.' We stand by his statement," it read.
"And to clarify, we were not taking a political stance on the film's content, we were making an artistic statement, and it saddens us greatly to see the festival platform being used for politics and subsequent personal attacks on Nadav. That was never the intention of the jury," it added.
Jinko Gotoh is an Oscar-nominated American producer; Javier A Barturen, a documentary filmmaker and journalist from France; and Pascale Chavance is a film editor from France.
Vivek Agnihotri, director of the film that has made box-office records since its release in March, has alleged that Mr Lapid denied the tragedy of Pandits, who had to leave Kashmir due to terrorism in the 1990s. Anupam Kher, the lead actor, alleged a conspiracy.
The Israeli ambassador to India — who faced anti-semitic comments such as "Hitler was great" from some of those protesting Mr Lapid's comments — also said he felt "ashamed" at Mr Lapid's statement and "insult of the host country".
Mr Lapid in turn called the envoy a "manipulator", and said he and the film's director were conflating two different issues. "I never doubted the facts, I don't have the capacity, the tools, to say what happened in Kashmir... I was talking about the movie, and such a serious topic, in my opinion, deserves a serious movie," Mr Lapid told several news outlets.
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