The Kashmir Files got pushed into IFFI due to political pressure, claims Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid

Published on Nov 30, 2022 08:03 PM IST

Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid who slammed Vivek Agnihotri's The Kashmir Files at IFFI, claimed that the film was pushed at the festival due to political pressure. He said that many Indian celebrities have reached out to him for standing up against the film as they couldn't.

Israeli filmmaker and IFFI jury head Nadav Lapid speaks during the closing of the 53rd IFFI, in Goa, Monday night (PTI)(HT_PRINT)
Israeli filmmaker and IFFI jury head Nadav Lapid speaks during the closing of the 53rd IFFI, in Goa, Monday night (PTI)(HT_PRINT)

Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid who criticised The Kashmir Files at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in a new interview said that he stands by his opinion at the event. Nadav was among the IFFI international jury. He asserted that he “knows how to recognise propaganda disguised as a movie.” Also read: Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid now calls The Kashmir Files ‘brilliant movie’

At IFFI, Nadav Lapid called The Kashmir Files a ‘propaganda movie’ that had no place at the international film festival. His remark on the closing day drew criticism from people associated with the film, political and Indian public on social media. The Kashmir Files is directed by Vivek Agnihotri and narrates the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990.

Reacting to the backlash over his remark, Nadav told Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, “Making bad films is not a crime, but this is a very crude, manipulative and violent propaganda film.” He said he feels it’s his duty to speak his mind as a member of the international jury. “The truth is that I also couldn't help but imagine a similar situation that might happen one day soon in Israel, and I would be happy that in such a situation the head of a foreign jury would be willing to say things as he sees them. In a way, I felt it was my duty to the place that invited me,” he added.

Nadav further continued and said that The Kashmir Files was “pushed into the official competition” of IFFI. “We learned that the film was pushed into the official competition of the festival due to political pressure... I feel as a foreigner who arrives there, you have an obligation to say the things that the people who live there may have a harder time saying. In such contexts, I don't believe in secrets and whispers. If you stand on stage and are asked to speak, what will you talk about? Only about the beaches, you saw and the food you ate?" he added.

Nadav, who admitted to not having ‘enough’ knowledge about the Kashmir conflict, also claimed that ever since he spoke against the film, he received ‘hundreds of emails and messages’ from Indian film personalities who are ‘happy about it.’ “Since this is a film that the Indian government encourages, I assume that the government there is not happy about it. But is a country only about its government? I assume not. What I said is not comfortable for the Government of India, nor for the government in the making in Israel, which the ambassador there represents,” he said.

Written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri and produced by Zee Studios, The Kashmir Files was called out for its problematic politics by a section of critics during release. It started slowly at the box office and later performed extraordinarily, minting over 330 crore via word-of-mouth.

Reacting to Nadav's comments, The Kashmir Files director Vivek Agnihotri announced The Kashmir Files Unreported. “I challenge the world's intellectuals and 'urban Naxals' as well as the great filmmaker who came from Israel if they can prove that any shot, dialogue or event of 'The Kashmir Files' is not absolute truth, I'll stop making films. I'm not someone who will back down. Issue as many fatwas as you want, but I'll keep fighting,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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