Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files is “a propaganda, vulgar movie” and unworthy of being included in the International Film Festival of India’s International Competition section, jury president Nadav Lapid said at the event’s closing ceremony in Panaji on Monday.
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, the Israeli director said that “all the jury members” were “disturbed and shocked” by Agnihotri’s film, which explores the exodus of Pandits from Kashmir in the 1990s.
“It felt to us totally like a propaganda, vulgar movie inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival,” Lapid said. “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.”
In addition to Lapid, American producer Jinko Gotoh, French film editor Pascale Chavance, French documentary filmmaker Javier Angulo Barturen and Indian director Sudipto Sen were a part of the jury that evaluated 15 entries. Lapid is an internationally recognised director from Israel whose Synonyms and Ahad’s Knee have won major awards at film festivals.
Among the international guests at the festival were Lior Raz and Avi Isaacharoff, the creators of Fauda, the popular terrorism-themed show from Israel. The series’s fourth season was premiered at IFFI. In a previous statement, Thakur spoke of an “effective audio-visual” treaty between India and Israel.
Raz and Isaacharoff were at the closing ceremony, along with Naor Gilon, Israel’s Ambassador to India.
In remarks shared by the Press Information Bureau, Anurag Singh Thakur said at the closing event, “Israel and India are both leading start-up destinations of the world, especially in the tech sector. India and Israel share a very special bond. In the times ahead I am confident we’ll see collaborative productions, untold captivating stories and cutting edge innovation emerging. This is just the beginning for our creative economies! When hearts and minds meet; a thrilling story awaits us!”
The celebrities at the ceremony included Chiranjeevi – who was previously given the Indian Film Personality of the Year award – Akshay Kumar, Ayushmann Khurrana, Asha Parekh, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Sharman Joshi, Manushi Chhillar, Esha Gupta and Rana Daggubati.