The Kashmir Files row: Vivek Agnihotri hits back at Nadav Lapid for saying the

New Delhi: Bollywood director Vivek Agnihotri on Wednesday reacted to the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) jury head Nadav Lapid’s comment that `The Kashmir Files` had fascist features. Taking to Twitter, Vivek wrote, “What is common between these? “India is a FASCIST country” “Modi is FASCIST” “BJP is fascist” “Hindu right-wing is FASCIST” “Abrogation of Art 370 a FASCIST decision” “Kashmir is occupied by FASCIST Indian regime” “#TheKashmirFiles is a fascist film.” 

Speaking to an Israeli news website, Ynet, over the phone, Lapid said, “It`s crazy, what`s going on here. It`s a government festival and it`s the biggest in India. It`s a film that the Indian government, even if it didn`t actually make it, at least pushed it in an unusual way. It basically justifies the Indian policy in Kashmir, and it has fascist features,” he said, according to a rough translation of the interview in Hebrew. 

See Vivek Agnihotri’s tweet

Nadav Lapid had faced massive backlash for calling “The Kashmir Files” a “vulgar” and “propaganda” movie at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI). 

Unfazed by the widespread criticism of his comments against the film, Nadav Lapid said that he stands by his remarks as he “knows how to recognise propaganda disguised as a movie”. According to the filmmaker, he felt it was his “duty” to speak his mind as the head 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 said. 

A video from the festival went viral in which Lapid was seen making controversial remarks about `The Kashmir Files` at the 53rd International Film festival`s closing ceremony. “All of us were disturbed and shocked by the 15th film, The Kashmir Files. That felt like a propaganda, vulgar movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival. I feel totally comfortable to openly share these feelings here with you on this stage. In the spirit of this festival, can surely also accept a critical discussion, which is essential for art and life,” he said in his speech. Post that, many Bollywood celebs including Anupam Kher, Vivek Agnihotri, and Darshan Kumaar reacted to Lapid`s comment. 

Reacting to the comment, Vivek issued a video in which he said, “I challenge all these urban naxals and the legendary filmmaker who came from Israel that if they can prove any single shot, event or dialogue is not completely true, then I will quit filmmaking. Who are these people who stand up against India every time? These are the same people who never allowed Moplah`s and Kashmir`s truth to come out. These are the same people who were selling burning pyres for just some dollars, and now when I announced my next film `The Vaccine War` they are standing against it also, but I am not afraid, do whatever you want to do but I will fight.” 

`The Kashmir Files` was released earlier this year in theatres and it told the story of the Hindu exodus in the 1990s and targeted killings of the Kashmiri Pandits. The movie went on to become one of the highest-grossing Bollywood movies of 2022 and Anupam Kher received acclaim for his performance.  

(With Agency inputs)

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