A day after challenging everybody to identify factual inaccuracies in his film The Kashmir Files, director Vivek Agnihotri has promised to make a sequel of sorts to the movie, titled The Kashmir Files: Unreported. He didn’t clarify if this would be a narrative feature, a short, a documentary, or a series.
The Kashmir Files attracted a new wave of controversy earlier this week, when Israeli director Nadav Lapid described it as a ‘vulgar’ piece of propaganda. Lapid was addressing a crowd filled with dignitaries and eminent film industry personalities at the closing ceremony of the 53rd International Film Festival of India, where he served as the president of the jury.
In an interview with AajTak, Agnihotri said, “I am determined now and I am making an announcement through your channel. We have many stories, anecdotes from which we could have made 10 films instead of one. I wanted to make only one film then. But now, I have decided that I will bring out the whole truth through The Kashmir Files Unreported.”
He added, “Now this subject is beyond art and is more about the reputation of this country. It is my moral responsibility that whatever proof I have with me, I bring them out and present it in front of people.” In a separate interview with Republic, he said that the follow-up will ‘be much more disturbing’ and will ‘rattle them all’.
In a video statement posted on social media on Tuesday, the filmmaker had vowed to quit directing movies if even a single scene, or a line of dialogue in The Kashmir Files was proven as factually inaccurate. He said, “They keep calling The Kashmir Files a propaganda film. Are they saying that the genocide of Hindus didn’t happen? Today, I challenge all intellectuals of the world, all the Urban Naxals of the world — and even this great filmmaker from Israel — if they can prove even one scene, one dialogue in The Kashmir Files is fictional, I will stop making films.”
The Kashmir Files was released amid controversy earlier this year. But the film defied poor reviews and went on the become a box office hit, with the aid of positive word-of-mouth and glowing endorsements from members of the ruling party. In an interview following his remarks at IFFI, Lapid said that he was ‘apprehensive’ about what he was planning to do. Fellow jury member Sudipto Sen told the Indian Express that Lapid acted on his own.
Agnihotri began his spiritually connected ‘Files’ trilogy with The Tashkent Files. He will also direct films titled The Delhi Files and The Vaccine War.