In a detailed video response to criticism of ‘The Kashmir Files’ by International Film Festival of India (IFFI) jury chairman Nadav Lapid, the film’s director Vivek Agnihotri invited “all intellectuals, urban naxals and called Israel’s talented director” to prove that even one frame of the film was a propaganda piece. If they did, he declared, he would stop making movies altogether.
Agnihotri prefaced his challenge with an emotional statement where, mixing rhetoric with debatable facts, he pointed out that he was used to such comments by “terrorist organizations, urban naxals and people who wish to ‘tukde tukde’ from India”.
The director said he found it surprising that “someone who had been invited by the Government of India, speaking from a forum set up by the Government of India, chose to support the narrative of terrorists who want to separate Kashmir from India” and certain people living in India , then, expanded the message because it suited his ideology.
“These Indians used these pronouncements against India,” said Agnihotri. “Who are these people?” he asked and then responded to her rhetorical question by saying that “these were the same people who had been opposing the ‘Kashmir Archives’ for the last four years” since when he started researching the subject of his controversial but blockbuster film.
Agnihotri then emphasized that the film was based on interviews with 700 people who had seen their loved ones raped, brutalized or murdered.
“Were they indulging in vulgar propaganda?” he asked with feeling. He pointed out that the Hindus were all terrorized to leave Kashmir and even today, the few remaining Hindus are being picked and killed one by one.”
Agnihotri continued: “Is the fact that Yasin Malik has confessed to numerous terrorist acts and murders, and is now rotting in prison, vulgar propaganda? When they say that ‘The Kashmir Archives’ is propaganda, what they are trying to do is deny that a genocide took place in Kashmir.”
He then asked, “Who are these people?” And he said: “These are the same people who didn’t leave the truth about the Moplah Rebellion, about the Day of Direct Action and about Kashmir. These are the same people who sold the Covid funeral pyres for a few dollars and are now becoming opposing my film about how India developed the Covid vaccine.”
Agnihotri ended his statement with a statement that he will not back down. “Go ahead and issue as many fatwas as you want against me, but I’ll continue my fight,” he said.