At the 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid criticised Vivek Agnihotri’s divisive film The Kashmir Files “vulgar and propaganda driven” during the closing ceremony on Monday. And now the jury board has distanced itself from its chief’s comments, terming them “his personal opinion”.
Filmmaker Sudipto Sen, Nadav Lapid’s fellow juror who served on the jury of the just-concluded International Film Festival of India (IFFI), has now tweeted the board’s statement, saying the opinion of Nadav Lapid on The Kashmir Files was entirely his own and not shared by his colleagues on the jury. Clarifying his position, Sen tweeted, “Whatever has been said by IFFI 2022 Jury Chairman Mr Nadav Lapid about the film The Kashmir Files from the stage of the closing ceremony of 53rd IFFI was completely his personal opinion.”
He went on to say, “In the official presentation of the Jury Board to the Festival Director and in the official Press Conference, where we four jury members (the fifth had to leave for a personal emergency) were present and interacted with the press, we never mentioned anything about our likes or dislikes. Both were our official collective opinion.”
Sen concluded by noting, “As jurors, we are assigned to judge the technical, aesthetic quality and socio-cultural relevance of a film. We don’t indulge in any kind of political comments on any film and if it is done, it is completely in a personal capacity — nothing to do with the esteemed Jury Board.”
In his speech, Lapid had said, “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…”
On Tuesday, the Ambassador of Israel to India, Naor Gilon, slammed Lapid for his comments and tweeted, “In Indian culture, they say a guest is like God… I’m no film expert but I do know that it’s insensitive and presumptuous to speak about historic events before deeply studying them, and which are an open wound in India because many of the involved are still around and paying the price.”The Kashmir Files actors Anupam Kher and Ranvir Shorey have criticised Lapid’s comments on the film as well.