Watch | Stand Behind Every Word I Said About ‘Kashmir Files’: IFFI Jury Head Nadav Lapid

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“propaganda, vulgar movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival”.

‘Criticising a movie is not criticising India or criticising what happened in Kashmir,’ the Israeli director tells Karan Thapar, adding that it was his duty to speak out against the movie.

Lapid, who headed the jury at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa, said The Kashmir Files is a “propaganda, vulgar movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival”.

In a 32-minute interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, from his residence in Paris, he said, “In a way it was my duty, my obligation. I was invited to be frank not to speak about vanities.”

He revealed that he has received hundreds, maybe thousands, of threatening messages. Speaking specifically about the Israeli ambassador who, in a public letter to Lapid, said he should be ashamed of himself and claimed he had denigrated Indian hospitality and damaged India-Israel relations.

Lapid said: “I feel ashamed of this reaction of an Israeli diplomat.”

He repeatedly denied that he, in an interview with India Today, which was reported by Hindustan Times, called The Kashmir Files a “brilliant movie”.

 

“Criticising a movie is not criticising India or criticising what happened in Kashmir,” he added.

Speaking about what he calls the “vulgarity” and “crude quality” of The Kashmir Files, Lapid spoke about the way “the bad guys” are portrayed. He said, “The terrorists are like cartoon creatures.” He said they lacked “the truth of free life”. He said the portrayal is “a flat product”. Giving a few details, he added: “Look at the way the main terrorist is portrayed with a tick in his eye… it’s an extremely bad joke.”

Lapid insisted that “all the jury members shared exactly the same impression about the film.”

Confirming comments he has made to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and the Israeli website Ynet, Lapid said he felt a need to speak out and express what he believes is the truth, possibly because many others in India may share this thinking but are unable to speak it publicly.

He asked a question to those criticising him: “Do you want to live in a place where people are scared to open their mouth?”

Lapid also explains his views, his response to what others have said, his reaction to the controversy and furore that has been created and how the film was pushed by the Indian government. He says, in reverse circumstances, he would welcome Indian filmmakers coming to Israel and criticising Israeli films on subjects that are sensitive to or important for the Israeli people.