The Kashmir Files controversy: Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid has issued an apology after his 'vulgar' comment on the movie Kashmir Files. He said that his aim was not to insult the Kashmiri Pandit community or those who had suffered. Lapid, who was the international jury chair at the recent International Film Festival of India (IFFI) and stirred massive controversy by terming the Vivek Agnihotri film "vulgar" and "propaganda", reiterated that he only criticized the film for its "series of cinematic manipulations".
"I didn't want to insult anyone. My aim was never to insult the people or their relatives, who have suffered. I totally apologize if that's the way they interpreted it," Lapid, who has left the country since his remarks at the closing ceremony of the 53rd edition of the festival in Goa this week, told news channel CNN-News18 on Wednesday night.
"But at the same time, whatever I said and I said clearly that for me and my fellow jury members, it was and it is a vulgar propaganda movie that didn't have a place and was inappropriate for such a prestigious competitive section. I can repeat it again and again," he added. The Kashmir Files, written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri, centers on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits during militancy in the early 1990s. It was screened at the festival on November 22 under the Indian Panorama section.
The acclaimed director, known for his anti-establishment stance, said his remarks were neither a statement on the political situation in Kashmir nor a denial of the tragedy. "I have enormous respect for the tragedy, victims, survivors and for whoever suffers there.
It (my remarks) was not at all about this. I'll repeat these words 10,000 times if I have to say that I was not talking about the political issue, historical equation, or disrespecting the tragedy that happened in Kashmir," he said. "I was talking about the movie and that such serious topics deserve, in my opinion, a serious film.
A day after the controversy erupted, Agnihotri said he would quit filmmaking if intellectuals, including Lapid, were able to prove that events depicted in his film were false.
Lapid came under attack not just by "The Kashmir Files" team but also by several BJP leaders and Israel's Ambassador to India Naor Gilon as well as its Consul General to Midwest India Kobbi Shoshani.