Renowned filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan has reacted strongly against the presence of The Kashmir Files in the competition section of the recently-concluded International Film Festival of India (IFFI). He opined that allowing this film in the festival proved “selection procedures are being politicised.”
Adoor was in Delhi when he reacted to the controversy. He was there to celebrate his debut film Swayamvaram (1972), which turned 50 this month.
According to a Mathrubhumi report, Adoor said he had not seen the movie The Kashmir Files. Though to the extent he heard about The Kashmir Files, it is a propaganda movie. He said that including the movie in the film festival might have been “an attempt to please certain people”.
Israeli filmmaker and a jury chief at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) Nadav Lapid caused an international incident when he called The Kashmir Files “propaganda” and “vulgar” while expressing dismay over seeing it in the international competition section, which he described as “the front window of the festival.” While the lone Indian member of the jury, Sudipto Sen, said it reflected his personal opinion, the rest of the jury — comprising international members — has supported Lapid.
Nadav’s unexpected remarks at the IFFI caused a massive uproar across the country. Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri has written and directed The Kashmir Files, which is based on the 1990s targeted killings of Kashmiri pundits in the valley and the subsequent Hindu exodus. Seasoned actor Anupam Kher played the lead role in the movie. It also stars Mithun Chakraborty, Darshan Kumar, and Pallavi Josh in key roles.
The Kashmir Files opened to mixed reactions from the critics in March this year. It was even accused of aiding further communal polarisation in the country. The controversies, however, didn’t stop the film from emerging as a big hit at the box office.