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Nadav Lapid calls controversy over his comments on ‘The Kashmir Files’ a cheap political manipulation, accuses Naor Gilon and others of politicising it

Lapid admitted that many people think that the movie is brilliant, and added that he merely did his duty by expressing his views on it.

On Wednesday 30th November 2022, leftist Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid came forward to shamelessly back his comments on Vivek Agnihotri’s film ‘The Kashmir Files’. Nadav Lapid said that his opinions were shared by the other jury members in the IFFI as well. Besides, he called the stir created by his remarks in Indian society as well as the apologetic stance of the Israeli ambassador Naor Gilon towards India a ‘cheap political manipulation’ of the issue.

Nadav Lapid had sparked a controversy by calling filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri’s film The Kashmir files ‘vulgar’ and ‘propaganda’ during his concluding remarks at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) that was held in Goa. Lapid was the chairperson of the jury of the International Film Festival of India held in Goa.

However, now Lapid has admitted that many people think that the movie is brilliant. He added that he merely did his duty by expressing his views on it. He also said that he has not denied what had happened in Kashmir, but was only criticising the movie. However, he maintained that the movie is propaganda, adding that nobody can define what propaganda is.

In an interview with India Today, Nadav Lapid presented his next round of explanation, citing subjectivity this time, as leftists usually do when it gets difficult to defend their views. He said, “I had a feeling exactly because we are talking about such a tragic topic. These events oblige us to make serious movies. And this movie for me was exactly the opposite. It was a basic cheap cinematic manipulation.”

Nadav Lapid cleverly ducked the question “if ‘Schindler’s List was a propaganda film according to him”. He went on to preach about the subjectivity of considering something propaganda. He said, “No one has a key to distinguish between a propaganda and a non-propaganda film. I make movies that are very often controversial. They gained awards all over the world in the most prestigious places including Cannes and Berlin and Goa. There are people who accept criticism in the very harshest of words. Don’t make me analyze Schindler’s List or any other movies. Even the most terrible things that happened might give birth to propaganda and manipulated movies.” However, he did not specify what exactly in the film ‘The Kashmir Files’ was manipulated.

When asked about other jury members coming out saying that they do not agree with the views of Lapid on the movie, he accused them of lying and changing their position. He claimed that all the jury members had agreed on his views about the movie, but now they are changing their positions for fear or anxiety, or under pressure.

He said, “My statements and opinions were shared by all the jury members. All of us were sitting in the screening room and had the same feelings after the screening. Everyone was aware of what was going to be said. I have emails and WhatsApp to prove it. ”

To this answer, he was countered by the anchor citing the statement by an Indian on the jury panel, Nadav Lapid said, “I understand that under pressure or fear or anxiety, people can suddenly change their statements.” He refuted the claims of the Indian member that the issue was not even discussed. He also asked Rahul Kanwal to call other non-Indian members to verify his claims.

On widespread backlash by Indians and the Israeli ambassador to India apologizing to Indians and the Indian government, Nadav Lapid said, “I think that politicians have their way of making profits out of cases like this. The Israeli politicians and the ambassadors did abuse in an ugly disgusting and manipulative way in this case. I am a private person. I have the right to say what I think. I don’t need to get authorization for this. Neither from the Israeli ambassador nor from anyone else. I am not their property. I don’t need to get advice from them about what I say and what I don’t say. I was talking as an artist and as a filmmaker and as a jury invited to give my opinion about the films there.”

He added, “The Israeli ambassador is doing the same manipulation. I will say this if I have to say it another one thousand times. I was never ever speaking about the Kashmir tragedy. I am not at all taking back what I said. But I am sorry if people are hurt by this. I was talking about the movie. The Israeli ambassador is claiming that he is not a film expert but he thinks that The Kashmir Files s not a propaganda film. It is his right to say so. I don’t know to which extent he was saying this and what exactly it means. But this is a cheap manipulation, about what I was saying done, by the Israeli people and also certain people in India.”

When asked about his claim regarding other jury members being already aware of his comments well before, he said,

The Kashmir Files, written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri and produced by Zee Studio fared remarkably well at the box office, grossing over 330 crores.

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