Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri slammed criticism over his film Kashmir Files winning the Nargis Dutt award for best film on national integration at the 69th National Film Awards even as his wife and actor Pallavi Joshi said she was feeling “on top of the world” after the recognition.
In an interview to CNN-, Joshi said she woke up to the news early in the morning and it had been a “great start to her day”. “The fact that the film won the award for national integration really means a lot to us because that’s the message of the film. Being recognised by the jury, by your peers is a great feeling,” she said.
Asked how there were many who said the film was against the secular fabric of the country and divisive in nature, Agnihotri said the award and the film were much smaller in stature than the issue at hand. “The film is about genocide. If you make a film about the Holocaust then you must decide whether the genocide took place or not. If it happened, then we can talk about it. But if you have decided that it did not happen, then it’s like listening to a terrorist’s point of view… and I am not going to entertain it,” he said.
Agnihotri accused the Abdullah family (Sheikh Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah) for leaving no stone unturned to create an “Islamic Republic of Kashmir”. He said former chief minister Omar Abdullah, who criticised the recognition to his film, as being from a family that had “suppressed Kashmir”.
“I say this with full understanding of the issue. Sheikh Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah are three AK-47s who left no stone unturned to destroy Kashmir. They conspired with top leaders sitting in Delhi, especially Jawaharlal Nehru. Their goal was to make Islamic Republic of Kashmir and nothing else,” he added.
Earlier in the day, too, Agnihotri said it was unfortunate that it was nothing more than ironic that the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party had slammed the recognition given to his film at the National Awards.
“There is not a single scene in that movie that depicts national integration… Unfortunately, the movie only shows Kashmiri Muslims in bad light. Not only that, a lot of agencies, including Jammu and Kashmir Police, have been shown in a very bad light,” NC chief spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq said.
He said the film should not have won the award on national integration and added that “it is very unfortunate”.
PDP chief spokesperson Suhail Bukhari said the movie did anything but national integration. “Nothing can be more ironic than this. A film that is peddling lies… creating divisions and thus disintegrating the country, that is vilifying and villainizing the J-K Muslim population, has been given an award for national integration,” he said.
Bukhari alleged the movie was “divisive” and “created hatred among communities”.