The Big 'The Kashmir Files' At Film Festival Controversy: 10 Points

Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid yesterday said the jury was "disturbed and shocked" at the screening of the film at the festival.

'The Kashmir Files', written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri, is based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits

New Delhi: The comments of an Israeli filmmaker heading the Indian Film Festival jury, calling 'The Kashmir Files' "vulgar and propaganda", have sparked a big row. The festival jury has said its chief Nadav Lapid's remarks are "completely his personal opinion".

Here are top 10 points on this big story

  1. The board's statement comes amid the row over the comments by the head of the international jury and Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid at the closing ceremony of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI). Mr Lapid yesterday said the jury was "disturbed and shocked" at the screening of the film at the festival.

  2. "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.

  3. 'The Kashmir Files', written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri, is based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley at the height of militancy in the 90s. The movie, promoted by BJP leaders, was a commercial success, but faced allegations of fanning communal sentiments.

  4. While some have praised Mr Lapid for "calling out propaganda", others have accused him of being insensitive towards the suffering of Kashmiri Pandits, despite being part of a community that faced the horrors of the Holocaust.

  5. Amid the row, the IFFI Jury Board today issued a statement, saying that whatever Mr Lapid said about the movie is his "personal opinion" and "nothing to do" with the board.

  6. "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. 

  7. "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.

  8. Among those who slammed the Israel filmmaker is the country's ambassador to India, Naor Gilon. In a Twitter thread, he said Mr Lapid "should be ashamed" as he had "abused in the worst way" Indian's invitation to chair the panel of judges at IFFI. "I'm no film expert but I do know that it's insensitive and presumptuous to speak about historic events before deeply studying them and which are an open wound in India because many of the involved are still around and still paying a price," the Ambassador added.

  9. 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. 

  10. Mr Kher also addressed the media with Israel's consul general Kobbi Shoshani. "To use the platform of IFFI for your own agenda is not only unfortunate, it's disgusting," Mr Kher said. Earlier, Mr Shoshani slammed the remarks by the Israel filmmaker. 



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