Award-winning Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid gets flak for remarks on The Kashmir Files

Award-winning Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid gets flak for remarks on The Kashmir Files

"The Kashmir Files felt to us like a propaganda, vulgar movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival," he said.
30 Nov, 2022

Is The Kashmir Files, a controversial film on the plight of Hindus in Kashmir in the 1990s a vulgar and propaganda film? Award-winning Israeli moviemaker Nadav Lapid told audiences at an international film festival in Goa on Tuesday he thought so. So did other members of the jury, according to him.

Lapid was invited to chair the jury at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa where The Kashmir Files was screened. At the concluding ceremony the jury chief lashed out at the film and said, “There were 15 films in the international competition — the front window of the festival. Fourteen out of them had cinematic qualities… and evoked vivid discussions. We were, all of us, disturbed and shocked by the 15th film, The Kashmir Files. That felt to us like a propaganda, vulgar movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.”

The comments set off howls of protest from supporters of the Hindu right, mostly. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had celebrated the movie, and praised its director Vivek Agnihotri publicly as a “revealer of truth”. “Those who always carry the flag of freedom of expression, this entire group has been rattled these past 5-6 days (with the film’s success),” he told a meeting of his MPs.

For a host of familiar reasons the Israeli ambassador in India too found himself rejecting Lapid’s views on The Kashmir Files, and he tendered an apology too on behalf of his country.

In an “open letter” to Lapid, Ambassador Naor Gilon slammed what he said was abuse of Indian hospitality by his compatriot. Mr Gilon equated the controversial film — seen by many cinema watchers as bordering on Islamophobic — with Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust classic Schindler’s List. He urged Lapid to “justify” his criticism.

The controversial film purports to portray the exile of the Pandit community from the Kashmir Valley with empathy, but was seen by many viewers as needlessly accusatory against Muslims.

A group of Kashmiri Pandits, whose parents were killed in the Valley, demanded that Mr Lapid be immediately deported from the country.

The Kashmir Files unmasked the 30-year-old propaganda designed to hide the truth on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits,” Vikas Raina, son of principal Ashok Kumar Raina, who was killed allegedly by Hizbul Mujahideen, said.

Sandeep Kaul, whose grandfather Radha Krishen and father Shiban were killed brutally in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district, demanded an apology from Mr Lapid for “mocking the tragedy” depicted in The Kashmir Files.

“His remarks have reopened my old wounds. It has brought pain to me and my mother,” Mr. Kaul said.

Sudipto Sen, a jury member, reportedly distanced himself from the Israeli’s comments, terming them “personal”.

Mr Gilon raised his protest to a strategic level. “The friendship between the people and the states of India and Israel is very strong and will survive the damage you’ve inflicted. As a human being I feel ashamed and want to apologise to our hosts for the bad manner in which we repaid them for their generosity and friendship.”

“You will go back to Israel thinking that you are bold and ‘made a statement’. We, the representatives of Israel, would stay here. You should see our DM boxes following your ‘bravery’ and what implications it may have on the team under my responsibility,” Mr Gilon said.

Lapid’s speech has drawn polarising responses, with some praising his courage to say what he did in front of Indian dignitaries including Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, while others have accused him of whitewashing the plight of Hindus in Kashmir.

It was, however, a struggle to find anything deprecating of the Kashmiri Pandits’ plight in Lapid’s comments. For many, the comments came from a cinema critic and did not seek to undermine the human tragedies in violence-wracked Kashmir. Lapid is a highly regarded filmmaker with strong views on issues of human rights.

Earlier this year, he joined a group of 250 Israeli filmmakers who signed an open letter to protest against the launch of the Shomron (Samaria/West Bank) Film Fund. The filmmakers felt the only goal of the Fund was to use filmmakers to “actively participate in whitewashing the Occupation”. He consequently drew flak from people within the Israeli state, The Indian Express said.

In an interview about ‘Synonyms’, he said, “When the film was released in Israel, Miri Regev, the Culture Minister, sent someone very close to her to the premiere. He came to me and said, in a very frontal way that Israelis can do things, ‘Hi, I came to examine if your film is pro- or anti-.’ So I said, sincerely, ‘as soon as you find out, call and tell me’.”

Originally published in Dawn, November 30th, 2022


Mansur Ul Haque Nov 30, 2022 11:52am
Why can't we call him? Get benefit from his film making capabilities. Art has no boundaries and room for political interference.
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Sheila kijawani Nov 30, 2022 12:12pm
Quite amusing how now even an Israeli filmmaker is being referred to in Pakistan. Even his ‘awards’ are apparently worth a mention now in Pakistan! Lol!
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Aroosha Nov 30, 2022 12:23pm
KASHMIR GENOCIDE One side agenda
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M. Saeed Nov 30, 2022 12:25pm
Reality and bitter truth hurts very deep!
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Subbu Jois Nov 30, 2022 12:27pm
@Mansur Ul Haque Because Pakistan doesn't recognise Israel, and hence his passport!
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NYS Nov 30, 2022 01:04pm
KASHMIR Files One sided agenda Israiel vs India conflict astonished us
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ENGR Hamid Shafiq Nov 30, 2022 01:22pm
Brave man at least every one not praises the India for their oppression and occupation in Kashmir
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ENGR Hamid Shafiq Nov 30, 2022 01:23pm
@Aroosha Genocide from 1947 to till now means Kashmiri is resilient, hard and tough.
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Nawaz Nov 30, 2022 01:41pm
Propaganda is one of the cornerstones of RSS ideology. They never learned from the past.
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Ghani K Nov 30, 2022 01:49pm
Struggle by Kashmiri is war against a colonial power India which reneged on the promise of plebiscite under UN supervision.
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ENGR Hamid Shafiq Nov 30, 2022 02:12pm
@Ghani K Promises by Pandit Jawaher Lal Nehru 1st PM of India
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Kulsoom Baloch Nov 30, 2022 03:19pm
The propaganda targeted Muslim community as a symbol of "TERRORISM" is the worse tactic played by honourable actors.
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Raja Nov 30, 2022 03:40pm
@Sheila kijawani any one taking a justified stance should be appreciated
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Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Nov 30, 2022 04:30pm
Propaganda, propaganda and intensive propaganda. That's exactly what India and Indians are all about when it comes to the India-attacked, India-invaded, India-occupied, India-held, India-abused and India-annexed Jammu and Kashmir.
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Fastrack Nov 30, 2022 04:42pm
@Sheila kijawani We Pakistanis don't waste much of our time on Indian news-sites like Indians do on ours. Admit it, truth and quality are both in short supply in Hindutva India.
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AHMAD Nov 30, 2022 06:08pm
Indian claims are a propaganda as evident from hw they treat muslims and other minorities within India. U should all be ashamed for trying to deceive the world
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Anonymouseee Nov 30, 2022 06:29pm
Hats off to Mr Lapid for speaking the truth right in the middle of Hindus and BJP who have been trying for years to distort the history about Kashmir to show false plights of Hindus there. The world is finally seeing through Indian/Hindu propaganda.
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Krishna Nov 30, 2022 06:47pm
I saw 15 mins of this film. It is rubbish. Lal Singh chadda was very enjoyable though.
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Asim Nov 30, 2022 07:42pm
Ouch the truth came out that openly, RSS media wing didn't expect this from an Israeli, I am sure this will hurt deep.
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Alpha Male Nov 30, 2022 07:45pm
Epic embarrassment for the Hindutva followers.
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Alpha Male Nov 30, 2022 07:46pm
@Sheila kijawani There is no limit to shamelessness for the saffron brigade!
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Athar Farid Nov 30, 2022 07:47pm
This is an unbelievable embarrassment for the Indian hate mongers who made a film the objective of which was nothing but perpetuate lies and hatred against Kashmiri Muslims.
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kumaran Nov 30, 2022 08:07pm
He called it propaganda without calling the incidents shown as not true. He misused his guest position
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kumaran Nov 30, 2022 08:08pm
@Nawaz Hiding truth is one of the strength for your folks.
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kumaran Nov 30, 2022 08:10pm
@Anonymouseee Nothing in the movie is false. Portrays only known documented incidents that happened. Bitter truth
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kumaran Nov 30, 2022 08:11pm
@Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad The dead victims do not defend themselves. These killing were claimed proudly at that time by some people
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kumaran Nov 30, 2022 08:13pm
@Asim He is a Palestine supporter hated in Israel. Unlike your world other countries have people who support the enemies and are tolerated
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Zulfiqar Nov 30, 2022 08:41pm
He finds easy to speak the truth as he is not one of the hypocrites
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Viq saad Nov 30, 2022 08:56pm
Truth hurts.
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Khan Nov 30, 2022 10:13pm
Also make a movie on genocide of muslims in kashmir in Nov 1947 and ever since Indian forces killed thousands of them.
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Ravi Dhar Nov 30, 2022 10:36pm
@Fastrack , because most of you Pakistanis don’t understand English
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Sharad Nov 30, 2022 10:57pm
It was not right for him to pass a judgement on a movie. His harsh manner indicates that he is not a fair and balanced person. This shows that he is brash and arrogant. A balanced and justice full person would dig into the matter and then only will pass a qualified opinion. He should have contacted makers and asked for evidence of the depiction of events in the film.
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Vigilante Nov 30, 2022 11:45pm
A slap on the face of fascist india that too from the citizen of their partner in crime Israel.
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GreenAura Dec 01, 2022 12:55am
Poor India, perpetually mocked by their own allies for their amateurish approach to propaganda.
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GreenAura Dec 01, 2022 12:59am
@Khan Before even thinking about Kashmir, make a film on the eradication of Jammu's Muslims by the Dogra clansmen and their hindu and sikh allies. Will Anupam Kher play a lead role in that one too?
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Kursi Dec 01, 2022 01:51am
For some Indians, Freedom of expression only if it is against Muslims.
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Kkk Dec 01, 2022 04:17am
Nadav Lapis being an artist has an actual spine... To call out propaganda.
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Sami Dec 01, 2022 04:20am
Seems like that we have a Jew with ethics at hand, who criticized a movie as he saw fit.
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Jameson Buffatti Dec 01, 2022 04:24am
@Sheila kijawani But he told whole world that india " SUCKS"
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Punisher Dec 01, 2022 04:42am
Who cares what this film maker thinks, that’s his personal opinion. But a vast majority of Israelis & Jews everywhere disagree with him. His own country’s government & ambassador have blasted him for his comments.
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Khan Dec 01, 2022 05:23am
Google genocide kashmir. You will find the answer .
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