My comments don't express any position on Kashmir: Lapid

my comments don't express any position on kashmir: lapid

My comments don’t express any position on Kashmir: Lapid

NEW DELHI: After sparking a political row with his comments criticising ‘The Kashmir Files’ as a “propaganda” film, Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid has said he stands by everything he said because “in countries that are increasingly losing the ability to speak the truth, someone needs to speak up”.

At the closing ceremony of the 53rd edition of Iffi this week, Lapid had said that he and his fellow jurors were “disturbed and shocked” by the inclusion of ‘The Kashmir Files’ in the artistic competition segment of the film festival since it was “a propaganda, vulgar movie”.

He was slammed for his remarks by Israeli ambassador to India Naor Gilon, consul general Kobbi Shoshani and ex-Israel ambassador to India Daniel Carmon.

Indian juror Sudipto Sen, however, distanced himself from Lapid’s comments calling them his “personal opinion”.

Unfazed by the criticism, Lapid clarified that his comments didn’t “express one position or another on the conflict in Kashmir”. He said he spoke because he felt it is his “duty” to speak his mind as the president of the international competition section jury since he “knows how to recognise propaganda disguised as a movie”, and because while it was not a crime to make bad films, what Vivek Agnihotri had directed was “crude, manipulative and violent”.

“Making bad films is not a crime, but this is a very manipulative and violent propaganda film,” Lapid said in an interview with Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz. “The truth is that I also couldn’t help but imagine a similar situation that might happen one day soon in Israel, and I would be happy that in such a situation the head of a foreign jury would be willing to say things as he sees them. In a way, I felt it was my duty to the place that invited me,” he said.

Lapid also said he was not surprised by the outrage over his remarks. “Since this is a film that the Indian government encourages, I assume that the government there is not happy about it. But is a country only about its government? I assume not,” he said.

The award-winning filmmaker also alleged that the jury had learnt that ‘The Kashmir Files’ was “pushed into the official competition” of the festival. “We learned that the film was pushed into the official competition of the festival due to political pressure… I feel as a foreigner who arrives there, you have an obligation to say the things that the people who live there may have a harder time saying,” In such contexts I don’t believe in secrets and whispers. If you stand on stage and are asked to speak, what will you talk about? Only about the beaches you saw and the food you ate?” he said.

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