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IFFI Jury Chief and Israeli filmmaker, accused of hating his own motherland, makes speech denying Hindu genocide, calls ‘Kashmir Files’ propaganda

Nadav Lapid is an Israeli filmmaker with around 13 films to his credit as a director. He was born in Israel’s Tel Aviv. The lesser-known 47-year-old filmmaker is best known for “hate” towards his own homeland, Israel.

On November 29, an Israeli filmmaker and International Film Festival of India (IFFI) jury chairman Nadav Lapid said called filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri’s film ‘The Kashmir Files’ “vulgar” and “propaganda”. During his closing remarks at the festival, he said he was “shocked” and “disturbed” by the inclusion of the film in the competition section. The 53rd edition of IFFI was held in Goa between November 20 and November 28.

Lapid was sharing the jury report during the closing ceremony of the festival. He said, “Usually, I don’t read from paper. This time, I want to be precise. I want to thank the director and head of the programming of the festival for its cinematic richness, diversity and complexity…There were 15 films in the international competition — the front window of the festival. Fourteen out of them had cinematic qualities…and evoked vivid discussions. We were, all of us, disturbed and shocked by the 15th film, The Kashmir Files. That felt to us like a propaganda, vulgar movie, inappropriate for a competitive artistic section of such a prestigious film festival.”

He added, “I feel totally comfortable to share these feelings openly here with you on stage since the spirit that we felt in the festival can surely accept a critical discussion which is essential for art and life.”

Who is Nadav Lapid?

Nadav Lapid is an Israeli filmmaker with around 13 films to his credit as a director. He was born in Israel’s Tel Aviv. The lesser-known 47-year-old filmmaker is best known for “hate” towards his own homeland, Israel. A Palestinian sympathiser, Lapid, 2019, talked about his film Synonyms to Now Toronto magazine and called the collective soul of Israel a “sick soul”.

He said, “The film talks about the collective Israeli soul, and the Israeli collective soul is a sick soul. Something in the deepest essence of the Israeli existence is false – is rotten. It’s not just Benjamin Netanyahu – it’s not special to Israel. But, at the same time, I think this Israeli sickness or nature is characterised by young Israeli men who are muscular, smiling, who don’t raise any questions and don’t have any doubts. They are extremely proud of being Israeli. They have a totally dichotomist vision of existence: Us versus all the others.”

‘I have different views’, said Israeli diplomat

Speaking on the matter in a tweet, Israeli diplomat Kobbi Shoshani said he has different views about the film and had expressed those to Lapid following his remarks. He said, “I saw the Kashmir file and met the cast. I have a different opinion than Nadav Lapid. After his speech, I told Nadav my opinion.”

Reaction from the film fraternity

Veteran actor and one of the leads in The Kashmir Files, Anupam Kher, reacted to the Israeli filmmaker’s remarks. He said, “No matter how high the height of the lie is.. It is always small in comparison to the truth,” while sharing images from the film and films based on the Holocaust. Kher did not take any names in his tweet.

Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit wrote multiple tweets on the matter. He said, “I take strong objection to the language used by Mr Nadav Lapid for The Kashmir Files. Depicting the genocide of 3 lakh, Kashmiri Hindus cannot be called vulgar. I, as a filmmaker and a Kashmiri Pandit, condemn this shameless act of abuse towards victims of terrorism.”

He added, “Dear Anurag Thakur Ji, I, as a Kashmiri Pandit who is a victim of genocide, seek serious action against Mr Nadav Lapid, Jury head of IFFI 2022, for calling the depiction of our tragedy as vulgar. He has added salt to our wounds and hence should be made to tender an apology.”

He said, “Nadav Lapid’s selection as the jury head of IFFI53 Goa is a major lapse on behalf of the I&B ministry. Hence heads of those in the ministry, who are responsible for this crime, should roll. What does one expect from a Palestine sympathiser?!”

Ashoke added, “Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid has made a mockery of India’s fight against terrorism by calling The Kashmir Files a vulgar film. He has insulted 7 lac Kashmiri Pandits under the nose of the BJP govt. It’s a big blow to IFFI Goa 2022‘s credibility. Shame.”

The Kashmir Files

Directed by filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, The Kashmir Files was released on March 11, 2022. The film was a blockbuster and widely appreciated for showing the true story of the exodus and genocide of the Kashmiri Pandits in the Vally in the 1990s. The description of the film on IFFI’s website reads, “Krishna Pandit is a young Kashmiri Pandit refugee living with his grandfather Pushkarnath Pandit – who has been a witness to the 1990 genocide of Kashmiri Pandits. He had to flee from Kashmir and has been fighting for the revocation of Article 370 all his life. Krishna believes his parents died in an accident in Kashmir. As a student of JNU, under the influence of his mentor, Professor Radhika Menon, he refutes the genocide and fights for Azad Kashmir, discovering the truth only after his grandfather’s death.“

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