Israeli director and the head of the International Film Festival of India’s jury Nadav Lapid on Wednesday said he stood by his criticism of The Kashmir Files but clarified that he did not mean to insult the Kashmiri Pandit community or those who had suffered, CNN-News18 reported.
At the closing ceremony of the festival on Monday, Lapid had denounced the film directed by Vivek Agnihotri as “propaganda” and a “vulgar movie”. Lapid added that he and other jury members had been “shocked and disturbed” that the film had been included in the event’s International Competition section.
After his remarks triggered a controversy, Israel’s Ambassador to India Naor Gilon alleged that Lapid had abused the hospitality of the festival organisers, and that he should be ashamed for his comments.
Agnihotri said that he would quit direction if Lapid as well as “intellectuals and urban Naxals” who supported his criticism could prove that the events depicted in the movie were false.
In an interview to News18 on Wednesday, Lapid said that he had “never denied the tragedy of Kashmir” or the sufferings of the residents of the region.
“I didn’t want to insult anyone, and my aim was never to insult people or their relatives, who have suffered,” said the Israeli filmmaker. “I totally apologise if that’s the way they interpreted.”
Lapid, however, stuck to his criticism of the film and maintained that this was also the opinion of the other jury members.
However, Sudipto Sen, a member of the jury, said that Lapid’s views were “personal”, according to News18. He also claimed that the Israeli filmmaker did not say what he originally intended to at the event.
“Nadav’s English is not very strong so he had a written statement,” Sen said. “But suddenly we were told he was not reading out what was decided, he has written his own speech. We had discussed the merits of all films and those discussions are not supposed to go out of the jury’s room.”