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Israeli filmmaker’s remarks on Kashmir Information set off row in India | Cinema Information

An Israeli filmmaker has triggered controversy in India after he denounced a movie on the Kashmir dispute as “propaganda” and a “vulgar film” at a government-sponsored movie competition in Goa.

Nadav Lapid, who headed the jury on the week-long Worldwide Movie Competition of India (IFFI) that concluded on Monday, mentioned he was “disturbed and shocked” by the inclusion of The Kashmir Files within the occasion.

“That felt to us, appeared to us like a propaganda, vulgar film, inappropriate for a creative aggressive part of such a prestigious movie competition,” he mentioned in his concluding handle at a ceremony additionally attended by India’s federal broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur and prime filmmakers from totally different nations.

The Kashmir Information, a 170-minute Hindi-language film written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri, was launched in March this yr. It tells the fictional story of a scholar who discovers that his Kashmiri Hindu dad and mom – referred to as Kashmiri Pandits – have been killed by armed rebels and never in an accident as his grandfather had made him consider.

The Kashmir Information created a storm as quickly because it was launched, with critics saying it distorted info and fanned anti-Kashmir and anti-Muslim hatred throughout India. Probably the most profitable Bollywood releases this yr with reported earnings of $43m to date, the film ran to packed cinemas throughout India, with cases of viewers elevating hate slogans and inciting violence throughout many screenings.

The movie, “powered by a visceral demonisation of the Kashmiri Muslim, makes an attempt to assemble the reality about Kashmir out of the carcasses of info,” wrote documentary filmmaker Sanjay Kak in a column for Al Jazeera.

One among Agnihotri’s earlier movies, The Tashkent Information, was additionally criticised for presenting conspiracy theories on the dying of former Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri as reality.

Nevertheless, the movie was hailed by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Celebration (BJP), together with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Residence Minister Amit Shah. In at the very least eight BJP-ruled states, the movie was granted tax-free standing.

The Himalayan area of Kashmir has been divided between Hindu-majority India and largely Muslim Pakistan since 1947, with both nuclear armed countries claiming the territory in full however ruling over elements of it.

An armed insurrection towards New Delhi’s rule started within the Indian-administered Kashmir within the late Nineteen Eighties. The insurrection noticed focused assaults on the Kashmiri Pandits and resulted in an exodus of hundreds of them into mainland India.

Many Hindus, nonetheless, stayed again within the disputed area, alluding to centuries-old bonds between the 2 communities.


To calm tempers in India over Lipid’s excoriation of the movie, Israel’s ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, on Tuesday denounced the filmmaker from his nation in a sequence of tweets. Gilon mentioned India-Israel ties have been very robust and would survive the “damages” inflicted by the remarks.

“I’m no movie knowledgeable however I do know that it’s insensitive and presumptuous to discuss historic occasions earlier than deeply finding out them and that are an open wound in India as a result of most of the concerned are nonetheless round and nonetheless paying a worth,” Gilon posted.

“As a human being I really feel ashamed and wish to apologise to our hosts for the unhealthy method wherein we repaid them for his or her generosity and friendship.”

Actor Anupam Kher, who options within the movie, accused the IFFI jury, headed by Lapid, of being insensitive in the direction of the struggling of Kashmiri Pandits. “The reality of Kashmir Information is caught like a thorn within the throat of some folks. They’re neither in a position to swallow it nor spit it out,” Kher tweeted.

However Mohit Bhan, a Hindu politician primarily based in Indian-administered Kashmir, advised Al Jazeera that “no person is speaking in regards to the justice” to Kashmiri Pandits whose plight, he mentioned, stays the identical because it was within the Nineteen Nineties.

“The way in which the film was hijacked by the right-wing in India and the hate speeches that have been made towards the whole Muslim neighborhood has put the ache of Kashmiri Pandits backstage and the hatemongering on the entrance. The narrative has develop into certainly one of Hindus towards Muslims,” Bhan mentioned.

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