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Kashmir Files vulgar: IFFI jury

The Kashmir Files, a film robustly endorsed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, was on Monday described as a “propaganda vulgar movie inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival” as the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) by the chairman of the jury. This strong criticism of Vivek Agnihotri’s film — one of the three Indian films entered for the Golden Peacock — was delivered by Israeli writer and film director Nadav Lapid at the festival’s closing ceremony in Goa in the presence of a galaxy of invitees, including Union information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur.

Lapid, chairman of the international competition jury, said: “We were — all of us – disturbed and shocked by the… movie Kashmir Files that felt to us like a propaganda vulgar movie inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival. I feel totally comfortable to share openly these feelings here with you on stage since the spirit that we felt in the festival can truly accept also a critical discussion which is essential for art and for life.’’ He had come clearly prepared to say this, stating that he normally does not read from a prepared text but would do so on this occasion. Lapid was heard in silence and the response was a muted applause. The other members of the jury were American film producer Jinko Gotoh, Spanish documentary filmmaker Javier Angulo Barturen, French film editor Pascale Chavance and Indian film director Sudipto Sen. After the Prime Minister supported the film and suggested that there was a conspiracy to discredit it, at least eight states had made it tax-free and several BJP chief ministers had organised special screenings. There was no immediate response from the Twitter-savvy Agnihotri to the jury’s observations.

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