The 53rd Indian International Film Festival or IFFI jury chairman’s remarks on the film “Kashmir Files” sparked heated discussions.
Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, chairman of the IFFI jury, called Vivek Agnihotri’s director “propaganda” and “kitsch” in Goa last night.
Actor Anupam Kher, who plays the leading role in the film, called the festival’s criticism of “Kashmir Files” “premeditated” and accused Mr Lapid of being insensitive to the suffering of Kashmiri Pandit.
Speaking to the media alongside Israeli Consul General Kobbi Shoshani, Mr Kher also condemned Mr Lapid’s remarks, saying: “If you’re on a jury, you can’t use words like ‘vulgarity or propaganda’. It was the vulgar remarks of the man who was himself vulgar and opportunistic.”
“Using IFFI’s platform for its own agenda is not only unfortunate, but disgusting,” Mr Kher said.
The actor blamed the entire controversy on what he called the “kit gang.”
“I was told by a reliable source that he had been missing from his room overnight. That was not a statement he made at the closing ceremony of the festival. He said something completely different. It was planned in advance because immediately after His remarks made the kit gang go viral on social media,” he said.
He said it was disgraceful for someone from a community (Jewish) that suffered from the horrors of the Holocaust to make such offensive remarks about a film set on the escape of the Kashmiri Pandit.
“He who does not understand the pain of the Holocaust victims in his country cannot understand the pain of the Kashmiri Pandit,” Mr Carr said.
As a Kashmiri Pandit, I reject his statement, he said.
The actor said Kobbi Shoshani called him, apologized for Nadav Lapid’s remarks, and came to see him.
“That is Nadav Lapid’s personal opinion and has nothing to do with the state of Israel. We do not accept it,” Mr Shoshani told the media.
Mr Kher shared images from The Kashmir Files and the film Schindler’s List on Twitter last night. “Schindler’s List” is a film set in the context of the Holocaust.
— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPKher) November 28, 2022
Mr Kher, who did not mention Nadav Lapid by name, wrote: “No matter how big a lie is, it is always nothing compared to the truth.”
“All of us are disturbed and appalled by the 15th film: The Kashmir Files. It’s like a propaganda film to us, a vulgar film, not suitable for the artistic competition section of such a prestigious film festival. I’d love to Sharing those feelings openly is with you on stage. Because the ethos of having a film festival is to embrace critical discussion, which is essential to art and life,” Mr. Lapid said at the festival’s closing ceremony said in his speech.
Israel’s ambassador to India, Nar Giron, also slammed Nadav Lapid’s remarks on the “Kashmir dossier”.
In an open letter to Mr Lapid, Mr Gilon wrote, “In Indian culture they say the guest is like God. You have abused in the worst possible way India’s invitation and trust to chair the jury of @IFFIGoa, they Your respect and hospitality.”
“The friendship between the people and nations of India and Israel is very strong and will survive the damage you have done. As a human being, I am ashamed and would like to apologize to our hosts for the poor way we have rewarded them. Generosity and Friendship,” he wrote.
an open letter to #NadavLapid after his criticism #KashmirFiles. It’s not in Hebrew because I want our Indian brothers and sisters to understand. It’s also longer, so I’ll give you the bottom line first. You should be ashamed. The reasons are as follows: pic.twitter.com/8YpSQGMXIR
— Naor Gilon (@NaorGilon) November 29, 2022
Kashmir Archives was screened at IFFI on 22 November as part of the Indian Panorama section. The film is based on the story of a Kashmiri Pandit fleeing the valley in the 1990s.
The jury of the 53rd International Film Festival in Goa has distanced itself from its chairman’s comments on the film “The Kashmir Files”, saying it was “entirely his personal opinion”.