Bollywood movie The Kashmir Files, released in March 2022, which has polarized people since its release, was yet again the center of controversy when it was screened at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI). The movie which was based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990s invited politically charged comments by IFFI jury head and Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, resulting in counter comments from Anupam Kher and other actors in the film like Darshan Kumar and condemnation by the Israeli Ambassador to India.
The controversy started when the Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid commented at the closing ceremony of the festival that he was “shocked and disturbed” by the film, which he described as “propaganda, vulgar movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival”. These remarks were delivered before a number of dignitaries including Union I&B Minister Anurag Thakur, as well as prominent actors such as Asha Parekh, Akshay Kumar, Ayushmann Khurrana and Rana Daggubati.
Kashmir Files actor Anupam Kher responds
Responding to the comments, Anupam Kher said that “every country has its own set of enemies”. Continuing further, he said that the truth of Kashmir Files was like a thorn in some people’s throats and that “neither able to swallow it nor spit it out”, they were trying to “desperately struggling to prove the film’s truth as a lie.” Earlier, he expressed his shock at such statements coming from an Israeli filmmaker saying that the filmmaker’s comments “has also hurt those people, who have suffered years back.” these comments can be seen in the backdrop of Anupam’s earlier tweet which juxtaposed images from Schindler’s List, Steven Spielber’s movie on the Holocaust, and Kashmir Files. He also said that the film’s team would frame a proper reply officially.
Bollywood actors opinion
Actor Darshan Kumar also expressed his disappointment with Mr Lapid’s comments, arguing that while people were entitled to their opinions, the movie was based on reality. Actor Ranvir Shorey also expressed similar sentiments and commented that Lapid’s statement smacked of “political opportunism” something also echoed by Mr Kher who suggested that this may have been pre-planned.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon apologized to Indian authorities for the filmmaker’s statement and slammed the filmmaker for “abusing his invitation” and in a series of tweets said that the filmmaker should “be ashamed”.