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“Kashmir Files Have Fascist Traits”: Israeli Filmmaker Reiterates His Point

Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, who at a film festival drew flak for his comments criticizing the film ‘The Kashmir Files’, has stood by his stand and said That “somebody has to raise his voice.” Lapid, president of the International Jury at the International Film Festival in Goa, said at the festival’s closing ceremony that the Vivek Agnihotri directorial film was a “propaganda and was vulgar”. He said the jury was “disoriented and shocked” at the screening of the film.

He further said, “We felt that a propaganda movie should be shown in the artistic competitive section at a respectable film festival.” There was a big controversy on his comment. Many accused the award-winning filmmaker of being insensitive to the plight of Kashmiri Pandits who had to flee the valley in the 90s due to militancy. Many people were surprised how a person from a community that suffered the Holocaust could make such a comment.

What is going on here is madness, Lapid said, according to a rough translation of the phone conversation in Hebrew from Israeli news website Ynet. This is a festival of the Government of India, it is the biggest film festival of India. This is a film that was not made by the Government of India, but got a lot of government support. It actually justifies the Indian policy in Kashmir and has fascist features as well.”

He said that such claims are being made that the side hidden by the intellectual class and the media was brought to the fore in the film. It is always made with one method – that there is an external enemy and then there are some traitors within.

The film was promoted by the leaders of the ruling party BJP. It was commercially successful but it was also accused of inciting communal feelings. After Lapid’s comment, many users and public representatives on social media also said that he “put forward a propaganda”.

The filmmaker’s remarks were strongly criticized by Israel’s ambassador to India. Israeli Ambassador Naoel Gillon said “Lapid should be ashamed” and should apologise.

In an interview, Lapid said, I am thinking that in the next year or a year and a half, a similar film will be made from Israel. It had propaganda, fascism and vulgarity in a transparent manner.”