The Kashmir Files director Vivek Agnihotri said on Tuesday that he would quit direction if Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid and “intellectuals and urban Naxals” who support his criticism of the movie could prove that the events depicted in it are false.
While addressing at the closing ceremony of the International Film Festival of India on Monday, Lapid, who was the jury head, had called The Kashmir Files “a propaganda, vulgar movie”.
He had said that the movie was unworthy of being included in the film festival’s International Competition section and that “all the jury members” were “disturbed and shocked” by Agnihotri’s film, which explores the exodus of Pandits from Kashmir in the 1990s.
In a video message on Tuesday, Agnihotri said that he was used to being attacked by “gangs who want to divide India”.
He added, “What’s surprising is that how an event organised by the government of India was used to support the narrative of terrorists who want Kashmir’s separation from India and how many Indians living in India used it against the country?”
He claimed to have interviewed 700 persons as part of the research for his film, and questioned if the accounts of murder, gangrape and other atrocities described by them were “propaganda or a vulgar thing”.
In his speech at the closing ceremony, Lapid had said: “It felt to us totally like a propaganda, vulgar movie inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival. I feel totally comfortable to share openly these feelings here with you on the stage since the spirit that we felt in the festival can surely accept also a critical discussion, which is essential for art and for life.”