‘The Kashmir Files’ film, released in the Indian theatres on March 11, 2022, was part of the Indian Panorama Section at IFFI and was screened on November 22. It stars Anupam Kher, Darshan Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty, and Pallavi Joshi, among others.
Kashmir Files revolves around the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus (Pandits) and the ethnic cleansing of the Kashmir valley of their presence in 1990 as a result of externally sponsored and locally abetted jihadism.
The Indian public received it well, so much so that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister both appreciated the movie that reflected what terror does to innocent and peace-loving people.
Millions of Indians sympathized with the victims of Kashmir terrorism.
Kashmir Files: Background
The catastrophe of genocide and mass exodus of the entire Kashmiri Hindu (Pandit) community — the millennia-old indigenous people of the valley —happened at a time when the State of Jammu and Kashmir was governed by a coalition of the Congress and National Conference parties.
As AK- 41-wielding jihadist-terrorist groups freely roamed the streets of the capital city of Srinagar brandishing their weapons, the communalized state administration caved in.
At a critical moment when the elected government should have left no stone unturned to defend the people who had voted it to power, the joint leadership betrayed its cowardice and treachery by resigning from the government and abandoning the people.
The chief minister ran away to London to sit securely within the four walls of his house; his partners in the government fled to Jammu to escape accountability.
Dissolving the government was purported to create space for the jihadists to carry forward their plan of genocide and ethnic cleansing of Kashmir.
The chief minister of J&K “reportedly” ordered the release of nearly 70 hard-core Kashmiri youth from the valley who had returned after receiving terrorist training in Pakistan.
The police had arrested them, and they were facing prosecution. In close cooperation with their foreign handlers, they were free to carry forward their selective mission of killing the Pandits. The cry of the Hindu minority for protection and defense was silenced by the bullets pumped into their bodies.
The Central government at the time, run by the Janata Dal, understood that the Congress-NC combine had already undertaken the task that its reserved vote-bank constituency would insist upon.
That is why not a single soldier from the heavily manned Badami Bagh cantonment in Srinagar was moved to intervene in a grave situation. The then Home Minister of India, hailing from district Pulwama in Kashmir, stood like a Sphinx.
The regime of the day least wanted the Indian nation to know what had befallen the Pandits of Kashmir. That is why the media became tight-lipped. After all, the Pandits are not any party’s vote bank owing to their insignificant numbers.
Now for the first time, as the tip of the iceberg is publicly revealed by the Kashmir Files, the segments that find their faces red with shame will certainly rise in revolt because they had thought that the truth would never be told.
Vivek Agnihotri has made a very apt remark on the IFFI Board chairman’s uncharitable statement. His tweet ran as this: “GM (good morning). Truth is the most dangerous thing. It can make people lie.”
The Kashmir Files At IFFI
The Indian Express of November 29 reported: “In his closing remarks, Lapid said before a crowd that included dignitaries and prominent members of the film industry, “There were 15 films in the international competition — the front window of the festival.
PM Modi, his govt, BJP, the RW ecosystem feverishly promoted ‘The Kashmir Files’
A movie rejected by International Film Festival Of India. Jury Head Nadav Lapid called it ‘propaganda, vulgar movie – inappropriate for the film festival’.
Hate gets called out, eventually pic.twitter.com/VJ5dFRKnaT
— Supriya Shrinate (@SupriyaShrinate) November 28, 2022
Fourteen out of them had cinematic qualities… and evoked vivid discussions. We were, all of us, disturbed and shocked by the 15th film, The Kashmir Files. That felt to us like a propaganda, vulgar oriented movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.”
As the disparaging video of Nadav Lapid, the Chairman of the Board, went viral and most of the prominent newspapers in India carried the episode, a wave of disappointment and anger overtook the nation.
The crude language used by Lapid and their characterizing the film as propaganda both speak of his artlessness in handling public affairs.
His art may be philosophy-oriented (and philosophies can also be perversions), but India’s art has roots in her history and civilization. Things like slicing a Hindu girl teacher under a machine saw or tying an outstanding scholar and social worker to a vehicle and dragging him along the cobbled road etc., are not the manifestations of Indian civilization. These are reminiscences of cannibalism.
Navad Lapid – The Indian ‘Jaichand’
Happily, the mission of Israel in India, particularly the Israeli Ambassador, has tried to do a damage-controlling exercise. In an open letter to his compatriot Navid Lapid, the Ambassador has touched on some fundamental and eye-opening aspects of Indo-Israel relations.
But before we know what the Ambassador has said, we ought to know about the mindset of Navad Lapid.
India News of November 29 wrote as follows:” ‘The Kashmir Files’ was screened at IFFI on November 22 as a part of the Indian Panorama Section. Lapid criticized the entry saying the jury was “disturbed and shocked” by the film and deemed it “inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.”
Lapid has been a vocal critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and, in one of his interviews, said the “Israeli collective soul is a sick soul.”
He was also among 250 Israeli filmmakers who signed an open letter to protest against the launch of the Shomron (Samaria/West Bank) Film Fund, which they deemed had just one goal – inviting Israeli filmmakers to “actively participate in whitewashing the (West Bank) Occupation in exchange for financial support and prizes.”
An observer with this mindset has the audacity to subject his own country and nation to maligning. He will have no qualms of conscience in identically treating India and the Indians.
He hates Israel and loves Palestinians; he expects us to be the takers of his ideology. His lack of understanding of contemporary history is appalling. The Israeli Ambassador has subtly hinted at this in his open letter to Lapid.
A close analysis of Lapid’s mind makes one believe in Anupam Kher’s remark that the entire thing was pre-meditated.
Look how insightful and pragmatic the Ambassador has been in his open letter to Lapid. On Tuesday, the Ambassador of Israel to India, Naor Gilon, wrote a long letter to Nadav saying I’ll give you the bottom line first. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED. Here’s why:
“*In Indian culture, they say that a guest is like God. You have abused in the worst way the Indian invitation to chair the panel of judges at IFFI Goa as well as the trust, respect, and warm hospitality they have bestowed on you.
*Our Indian friends brought @lioraz and @issacharoff from @FaudaOfficial to celebrate the love in India towards Fauda and Israel. I suspect that this is/ maybe also one of the reasons they invited you as an Israeli and me as the Ambassador of Israel.
*I understand your need in retrospect to “justify” your behaviour, but I can’t understand why you told at YNetnews afterwards that the minister and I said on stage that there is a similarity between our countries because “we fight a similar enemy and reside in a bad neighbourhood.”
*We did speak about the similarities and closeness between our countries. The minister spoke about his visits to Israel, which is a Hi-Tech nation, and the potential of combining this with the film industry. I spoke about the fact that we grew up watching Indian films.
*I also said that we should be humble when India, with such a great film culture, is consuming Israeli content (Fauda and more).
*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 is an open wound in India because many of the involved are still around and still paying the price.
*As a son of a holocaust survivor, I was extremely hurt to see reactions in India to you that are doubting Schindler’s List, the Holocaust and worse. I unequivocally condemn such statements. There is no justification. It does show the sensitivity of the Kashmir issue here.
*From your interview with Ynet, the connection you make between your criticism of The Kashmir Files and your dislike of what is happening in Israeli politics was quite evident.
*My suggestion. As you vocally did in the past, feel free to use the liberty to sound your criticism of what you dislike in Israel but no need to reflect your frustration on other countries. I’m not sure that you have enough factual basis to make such comparisons. I know I don’t.
*You will go back to Israel thinking that you are bold and “made a statement”. We, the representatives of Israel, would stay here. You should see our DM boxes following your “bravery” and what implications it may have on the team under my responsibility.
*The friendship between the people and the states of India and Israel is very strong and will survive the damage you have inflicted. As a human being, I feel ashamed and want to apologize to our hosts for the bad manner in which we repaid them for their generosity and friendship.”
Mr. Kobbi Shoshani, the Consul General of Israel, also expressed his disapproval. He said, “When I saw the film, tears came from my eyes. It was not an easy film to see. I think it was shown in Israel too. We’re Jews who suffered from horrible things. I think we’ve to share other’s suffering:
Concerning Nadav, we don’t accept it. I don’t accept it. Ambassador, who was there with me in Goa last night, doesn’t accept it. It’s his own private opinion. He can say that it’s the o”
Regarding whether it was a personal remark of Nadav Lapid, we need to be fair and honest. The banner news in some Indian papers said that jury member Sudipto Sen has said jury head Nadav Lapid’s remark about The Kashmir Files “was completely his personal opinion” and that they, as a team of jury members, “never mentioned anything about our likes or dislikes.”
He also said that the jury members “don’t indulge in any kind of political comments.”
This is absolutely incorrect and hence unacceptable. Sudipto Sen tries to be over clever to save himself from censure by the Indian nation and, at the same time, play safe with the IFFI Board.
Lapid had said,” “All of us ( emphasis mine) was disturbed and shocked by the 15th film ‘The Kashmir Files.’ That felt to us like a propaganda, vulgar movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival,” Lapid added.
When Lapid says all of us were shocked, it includes Sudipto Sen. Had Sen been averse to the remarks of Lapid, he would have protested there and then. He did not and pocketed the insult. No Indian worth his salt would be silent on hearing that remark.
We are also disappointed that none among the Indian dignitaries attending the meeting — Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Youth Affairs & Sports, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Information and Broadcasting, Dr. L. Murugan, Governor of Goa, Shri P. S. Sreedharan Pillai and Chief Minister of Goa, Dr. Pramod Sawant felicitating the actors at the opening ceremony of 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), at Goa —- could muster the courage to expose the bias of Navad Lapid functioning as chairperson of the meeting. When will Indians wriggle out of many centuries-old slavish mentalities?
In the final analysis, the Ambassador of Israel has very lucidly and objectively clarified the entire episode. We are thankful to him for taking a wise and timely step.
India and Israel have to go together a long way. An aberration here or there should not derail the process of cooperation and collaboration in preserving freedom and peace on the globe. Very few people understand the crucial but arduous role that destiny calls upon India and Israel to perform. Therefore the controversy should stop here to be dumped in the waste paper basket of history.