Makers of the recent superhit movie ‘The Kashmir Files’ held a press conference in Delhi after the film met with huge success after its release on March 11. While Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri and actress Pallavi Joshi elaborated about the importance of the film at this juncture, veteran Actor Anupam Kher flew down from Mumbai amidst a shooting schedule, especially to celebrate the success of the film.
With houseful shows in cities across the country, the film, against all odds, collected around Rs. 27.15 crores in the very first weekend. Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri asserted in the press conference that ‘The Kashmir Files’ has truly become a people’s film. He talked about the lack of awareness and denial people were living in about the Kashmiri Hindu Genocide, which, he claimed, prompted him to make the film.
“Even when it came to me, I knew everything about the Holocaust but very little about the Kashmiri Pandits. I feel this film has an important role to play in tracking India’s present as well as the future,” Vivek Agnihotri said that in 2019, the film was all set to release the Covid-19 kept film theatres closed. “We utilised this time to hold special screenings of the film in foreign countries to make people aware of the story. Thus, a film made in India was employed as a diplomatic tool to enhance its soft-power.”
Vivek Agnihotri speaks on movies being used to project soft power
When the Second World War broke out between 1942-45, The CIA joined hands with Hollywood producers to make the world watch the American side of the story. In the 50s and the 60s, thus, Hollywood was on the soft-power mission which narrated stories that were in consonance of American interests. When it comes to Kashmir, Agnihotri highlighted that India is attacked many a time through (information) warfare. “When I toured the USA during the making of the film I saw expensive hoardings at the Times square saying Free Kashmir, often funded by Indian students living there. The same anti-India campaign was reflected in articles written in The Washington Post, The New York Times by Indian journalists themselves.”
The filmmakers thence decided to screen The Kashmir Files in 16 different cities in the United States of America. Agnihotri highlighted that while the film was well-received it was supported by 36 independent organisations operating in the USA. “Taking lessons from USA’s soft power diplomacy, we toured the film with an intent to showcase the film to the Americans including the Whites, Blacks, Hispanics and not just the Indian diaspora,” Agnihotri talked about the Congressional reception which was organised for the film in Washington’s Capitol Hill (parliament). “The reception was also attended by senators who are often involved in anti-India Free Kashmir campaigns, and even they accepted that this was not an exodus but a genocide” added the filmmaker.
The film’s victory, according to Vivek Agnihotri was when the people who watched The Kashmir Files during multiple screenings in America, collected money out of their own will to showcase the poster of the film on the very site where Free Kashmir posters used to hang.
Support for the film from the Parliament of Rhode Island, USA
In the press conference, Vivek Agnihotri along with KP diaspora member Surinder Kaul talked about the support garnered by the film from the east coast state of Rhode Island in the USA. Historically a Democrat turf, the state of Rhode Island has been a go-to destination for liberal politicians of the US to make speeches. After watching the film, the speaker pro tempore of the house of representatives, Rhode Island USA, Ryan Pattrick Kennedy issued a proclamation in support of The Kashmir Files.
Talking about the special gesture, veteran actor Anupam Kher said, “this certificate brings new recognition to the history of Kashmiri Pandits,” Surinder Kaul added that the certificate is signed by Democratic Rep. Ryan Pattrick Kennedy, Speaker Joseph Shekarchi and the Majority Democratic leader and the minority Republican leader of the house.
Anupam Kher castigates Congress for denying the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits
On Sunday, INC Kerala Twitter handle sparked controversy by alleging, “Pandits left the valley en masse under the direction of Governor Jagmohan who was an RSS man. The migration started under the BJP-supported VP Singh government.”
Facts about #KashmiriPandits issue:— Congress Kerala (@INCKerala) March 13, 2022
Pandits left the valley en masse under the direction of Governor Jagmohan who was an RSS man. The migration started under the BJP-supported VP Singh government. #Kashmir_Files vs Truth (2/n) pic.twitter.com/10aUmdHjWM
When asked a reaction about Congress’ controversial stance on the film, Agnihotri said, “Right from Motilal Nehru to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who always referred to himself as a Kashmiri Pandit, to Indira and Rajiv Gandhi, the fate of Congress now lies in the hands of Rahul Gandhi. Now if the grandchildren of a prestigious dynasty decided to shame their own ancestors, then who are we to stop them?”
Anupam Kher said that this is the time when all the lies are being exposed. It is shameful that the Kerala Congress is repeating the same lies even after so much evidence has emerged, even after The Kashmir Files has been made. I think we should not pay any heed to them. They have become dynastic and have fallen,” He added, “They (The Congress) is trying to strike their relevance by making us talk about them. I don’t want to give them that much importance.”
The Kashmir Files directed by Vivek Agnihotri is released with a thunderous opening on March 11 worldwide. It stars Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty, Pallavi Joshi, Bhasha Sumbli, Darshan Kumar and Chinmay Mandlekar in lead roles.