Ravinder Bhakar, the managing director of the National Film Development Corporation, which organised the International Film Festival of India in November, was replaced by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting last week, The Indian Express reported on Monday.

At the closing ceremony of the film festival held in Goa, the jury president of the IFFI, Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid had described director Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files as a “a propaganda, vulgar movie”.

The movie on the the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir in the 1990s was unworthy of being included in the International Competition section at IFFI, Lapid had said.

The Israeli filmmaker had made the comments while addressing an audience that included Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Union Ministers of State L Murugan and Shripad Naik.

On January 11, the Centre removed Bhakar from his post at the National Film Development Corporation and handed over its interim charge to Prithul Kumar, the joint secretary (films), reported The Indian Express.

Bhakar was given the charge of National Film Development Corporation in December 2021. He still continues to be the chief of the Central Board of Film Certification.

Nadav Lapid’s criticism

In his speech, Lapid had said he and other jury members were “shocked and disturbed” that the The Kashmir Files had been included in the film festival’s International Competition section.

Hours later, director Sudipto Sen, the only Indian panel member, had claimed that Lapid was speaking in his personal capacity and his criticism did not reflect the views of the panel.

However, the remaining members of the panel – American producer Jinko Gotoh, French film editor Pascale Chavance and French documentary filmmaker Javier Angulo Barturen – disagreed with Sen, saying that Lapid made the statement on behalf of the jury.