Interview: Vivek Agnihotri on why he sued Mamata Banerjee, his views on having Y-category security, The Delhi Files
Vivek Agnihotri has answers for all controversial questions including why he sued Mamata Banerjee, his security cover and The Delhi Files.
Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, basking in the success of The Kashmir Files and back with a web series The Kashmir Files Unreported, doesn't mince any words while sharing his thoughts on social media or otherwise. Despite extreme range of reactions to his film, both positive and negative, Vivek is not shy of taking each accusation head-on. He didn't give it back to the critics but went on to sue West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for calling her film ‘propaganda’.
In an interview with Hindustan Times, he happily answered a range of questions, including those related to tweets of people questioning his security cover. Excerpts:
You had sent a multiple page notice to Mamata Banerjee for accusing you of several things. Did anything happen in that matter? Did you really sue her?
Of course, I'll keep fighting it. You know these kind of matters take lot of time, defamation and all those. Perhaps I'm the only filmmaker who has ever sued a sitting chief minister. But I want to sue all these people. I did not sue (a journalist's name we don't wish to disclose), because I didn't care, right? Because those kind of people, I can't stop. But the chief minister cannot say something like this. She is the chief minister of Government of India. She is a constitutional position. How can she say the genocide of Hindus in Kashmir is a propaganda? How dare Mamata Banerjee say that? It's very sad.
Watch: Vivek Agnihotri On The Kashmir Files Unreported And Controversies Surrounding Him
You have been provided with a Y-category security cover. Many on Twitter question you for using taxpayers money for your security.
What does taxpayers' money means, taxes taken for these things. Taxes taken to build roads, to make hospitals and to do this. It is my right to life and state has to guarantee my life. It is not that I want security. The central government and the intelligence agencies think that I need security. It is a very sad commentary. It is a shame on our society, our intellectuals and people that somebody who is talking about the victimization of our own people has to be given security. It is like Spielberg making a film on Jewish Holocaust and needs security.
Was there an incident that made you fear for your safety?
I don't feel anything. It's not about me. The intelligence agencies do that, yes, because of fatwa etc. When there is a fatwa issue, then they give security. When you are hackled, when people attack you from all sides and there is a real perception of threat on you, then they give you security. It is a prison and I do not like it. I cannot go out with my children.
You once dropped hints that you have been prevented from making The Delhi Files after The Kashmir Files. Is there any progress there?
We announced Delhi Files the day the first lockdown was put in place. We have been researching since 2020 and finally, it's reaching a stage where we can crystalize it and we have started writing the script. Hopefully, we will shoot the film in 2024 and release by the end of that year.
When we talk about partition, the only thing that comes to our mind is the partition in Punjab, those trains coming with full of dead bodies. But the real partition, the real inhuman violence took place in Bengal. We are telling the truth of India's partition and how the partition never stopped in this country, it continues.