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Yearender 2022: The Kashmir Files controversy, truth, propaganda and a hard place

After the film’s release, several videos showed people in theatres raising genocidal and Islamophobic slogans after watching the film. The Kashmir Files has been called out countless times for polarization by vilifying the Muslim community and adding to the growing prejudice against the minority community.

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The Kashmir Files

By Utkarsh Tripathi

Vivek Agnihotri’s film The Kashmir Files has been a subject of many debates since it first hit the floors. The film, which was released on March 11, 2022, was said to be based on the true story of the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in the early 1990s from Jammu and Kashmir. The film stars Anupam Kher, Darshan Kumar, Pallavi Joshi and Mithun Chakraborty among others.

Despite being the centre of a lot of controversy, the film did very well in theatres as it raked approx Rs 250 crore at the box office in the month of its release.

The film was praised by various actors and directors for displaying the hard truth and voicing the forgotten story of the Kashmiri Pandits. Not only the industry or the people, but the film was supported and endorsed by the Narendra Modi Government. Many speculated the ruling party’s reason for supporting the film was to knock out the opposition parties, as well as activists and scholars.

As the movie was praised and celebrated by one group of society, the other group spoke against Vivek Agnihotri’s film. Many alleged inconsistencies in the film’s script and called it out for depicting a distorted point of view of the whole incident. Some said it was an agenda-driven film pushing for polarization in the country by vilifying and spreading prejudice against Kashmiri Muslims.

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Vivek Agnihotri on Row over Kashmir Files

Director Vivek Agnihotri was unabashed by the negative takes against his film and said controversy was unnecessary as The Kashmir Files was purely based on facts. The director added The Kashmir Files team had tried to portray what happens when militancy enters a community and is given ideological support from a part of the society. Agnihotri further added that it leads to disaster.

Agnihotri had claimed that he had researched four years before he started work on the project. To queries on the agendas being driven by him with the film, he agreed that he does have an agenda. He tweeted his agenda is to find India the respect it deserves and to get rid of Naxals and separatists in the country.

After the release of the film, The Kashmir Files team, including Vivek Agnihotri and his wife Pallavi Joshi, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 12 where the PM congratulated and praised them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark on Kashmir Files Row

PM Modi attacked the people who stood against The Kashmir Files and called it out that it was propaganda and factually incorrect on various occasions.

The Prime Minister said there is an ecosystem working to suppress the truth in the country. The PM said someone who tries to show the truth is being stopped and being suppressed. He further added that the people, who pose to be the custodians of freedom of expression, are themselves trying to discredit the film and scrutinize it.

He added his concern is not specifically for the film, but that the country needs to see the truth in the right manner. Prime Minister Modi said if someone wants they can make a film on the same issue but with a different perspective, if they want.

Not only the PM, his party echoed the praise for the film as various BJP-ruled states made the film tax-free, including Bihar (now in the Opposition camp thanks to Nitish Kumar switching sides), Gujarat, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana and others. Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma announced half-day leave for government employees to watch the film. Whereas in Karnataka’s Vijayapura, MLA Patil Yatnal announced free shows of the film for people.

Opposition Parties on Kashmir files

The support for The Kashmir Files by the BJP became a national issue, the opposition including the Aam Aadmi Party, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, the Congress and many others chimed in to add their take.

Aam Aadmi Party on the film

Back in March, Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal said a great tragedy happened in Kashmir and highlighted that 32 years have gone by and even after 32 years, the government tells Kashmiri Pandits that they made a film for them. He attacked the Centre and said the Kashmiri Pandits don’t want a film, they want rehabilitation. The Delhi Chief Minister also accused the BJP of doing politics over The Kashmir Files.

Shiv Sena’s take on the film

Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena wrote against The Kashmir Files in Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana. The editorial said the story is based on the fleeing of Hindu Pandits in Kashmir, their killings, atrocities inflicted on them and their anger disturbs one’s mind.

The editorial charged the film as an attempt to divide Hindu-Muslims again. Raut claimed the BJP was supporting the film to win the upcoming Assembly elections due then in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

Raut said The Kashmir Files should be created, but the agenda of such films has lately been to spread hatred and confusion about the political opposition, rather than showing the truth.

Congress’s take on the film

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the film was inciting hate by distorting history to provoke anger. Ramesh tweeted some films inspire change, whereas, The Kashmir Files incited only hate. He highlighted the truth can lead to justice, rehabilitation, reconciliation and peace.

The Congress general secretary said propaganda twists facts, distorts history to whip up anger and promote violence and said statesmen heal wounds, whereas pracharaks exploit fear and prejudice to divide and rule.

IFFI Kashmir Files Row

In late November, The Kashmir Files was yet again in the news. International Film Festival of India (IFFI) jury head and Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid called the film propaganda and a vulgar film. He said it was inappropriate to place it in the artistic competitive section in IFFI. Lapid’s statements reignited the row which revolved around the film.

The Israeli filmmaker expounded on his comments to the media and said bad films are not a crime, however, The Kashmir Files is a very crude, manipulative and violent propaganda film.

As a result of Lapid’s remarks on the film, many including the team of The Kashmir Files attacked him. Subsequently, the Israeli filmmaker himself came forward and issued an apology for his remarks.

Reaction of the people who watched the film

After the film’s release, several videos showed people in theatres raising genocidal and Islamophobic slogans after watching the film. The Kashmir Files has been called out countless times for polarization by vilifying the Muslim community and adding to the growing prejudice against the minority community.

While such is the effect on one part of the audience, Kashmiri Pandits themselves are up in arms against the Government’s rehabilitation policy. Terrorists killed four Kashmiri Pandits on their return to the Kashmir Valley. The protesters have sought more protection for people who return to the Valley from terror elements.

If one was to look at The Kashmir Files and its version of the truth, India has itself chosen not to send the film as its 2022 Oscars’ entry. That decision nails the claims of its makers.

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Entertainment

Priyanka Chopra praises Parineeti Chopra’s Amar Singh Chamkila, post goes viral

The film was released on Nextflix on April 12.

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Global actor Priyanka Chopra today praised Imtiaz Ali-helmed Amar Singh Chamkila, starring Diljit Dosanjh and Parineeti Chopra in lead roles. The film was released on Nextflix on April 12. Priyanka praised the Imtiaz Ali film on Sunday by posting a message on her Instagram Stories.

Priyanka posted a picture from Netflix India on her Instagram, captioning it, Congratulations to Imtiaz Sir, Diljit, Tisha (Parineeti), and the team. She said, looks so good and added a love eyes emoji.

Soon after Priyanka sharted the post, Parineeti reposted Desi Girl’s post along with the words saying, Thank you Mimi Didi and folded hands and red heart emoticons.

Meanwhile, Parineeti thanked fans on Saturday for their praise on her performance in the drama biopic. Parineeti posted on her Instagram Stories, saying, she is happy that her work in Chamkila was able to have an impact. She has been waiting for yearsto receive this kind of appreciation. In her post, Parineeti also appreciated Imtiaz Ali for seeing the potential in her and giving her with this chance.

In a recent interview, Diljit Dosanjh disclosed the difficulties he and co-star Parineeti Chopra encountered in mastering the Chamkila and Amarjot styles. It was difficult, he said. People had heard Chamkila’s songs like rhymes, therefore it was challenging. That means it will appear completely weird if someone else is singing it. However, they have made an effort, and AR Rahman’s team has been quite helpful, he added.

Diljit plays the lead role in Amar Singh Chamkila, while Parineeti plays his singer-wife Amarjot. The film tells the untold true story of the first mass-popular rock artist from Punjab, who, at the age of 27, was assassinated after rising from the depths of poverty to the pinnacles of popularity in the 1980s because to the sheer strength of his music. Along the way, he enraged many people, which ultimately led to his downfall.

The film is produced by Mohit Choudhary, Select Media Holdings LLP, Saregama, and Window Seat Films. The music of the film is available on Saregama.

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Neetu Kapoor showers blessings on Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt on their 2nd wedding anniversary

Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt tied the knot in 2022, on April 14 in the presence of close friend and family.

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Bollywood’s one of the most loved couple Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor are today celebrating their 2nd wedding anniversary. The couple got married in 2022 at Ranbir’s Bandra residence Vastu, in presence of close friend and family. To mark the occassion, vetran actor and Ranbir’s mother Neetu Kapoor shared a picture of them to wish  the couple.

Neetu Kapoor shared a picture of Ranbir and Alia on Instagram stories, writing, “Blessings” with a red heart.

In the image, the couple, who appear to be deeply in love, were seen exchanging namaste gestures and flashing radiant, million-dollar smiles. Alia looked stunning in an orange salwar, accessorizing her look with delicate earrings, subtle makeup, and a tied-up hairstyle. Ranbir Kapoor looked dapper in a vibrant white kurta.

During an interview, once Neetu Kapoor was asked that what advice she will give to Alia and Ranbir on marriage. To which the Badhai Ho actor responsed saying, she won’t give any advice to them, as she thinks in today’s time every thing is just about to be happy. Also she thinks that every generation is different. What she went through, she can’t expect them to do the same thing, so they know their own vibe, Neetu Kapoor said.

Meanwhile, on workfront Alia Bhatt has just wrapped up the shooting of her upoming film Jigra. The Raazi actor willl be next seen in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Love and War, starring Vicky Kaushal, Ranbir Kapoor. The film was announced in January this year. Love and War also marks the reunion of Bhansali and Kapoor after a 17-year break.. The movie is scheduled to release on Christmas in 2025.

On the other hand Ranbir Kapoor will be next seen playing Lord Ram in Nitesh Tiwari’s Ramayana. The actor has begun preparing for his role and the shooting of the film  has been also started. A few days ago, Ramayana, the first set video was surfaced on social media.

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Sourav Ganguly gives a shout out to to Ajay Devgn’s Maidaan, says a must-watch Indian sports film

The film was released in the theaters on the occasion of Eid, April 11.,

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One of the most eagerly awaited movies of the year, Maidaan, released in theaters last Thursday. This biographical sports play by Ajay Devgn portrays football coach Syed Abdul Rahim, highlighting the golden era of Indian football. In addition to the positive reviews the movie has been receiving from viewers, former cricketer Sourav Ganguly, who is also known as Dada, has shared his thoughts on it.

Recently, Sourav Ganguly took to X, formerly Twitter, to share his feelings about the movie Maidaan, which was released in theaters on the occasion of Eid. Sourav asked his followers in his note to make the most of the opportunity.

Dada said, don’t miss out on the cinematic experience of Maidaan, which is a gripping a portrayal of India’s legendary football coach, Syed Abdul Rahim, and the golden era of Indian football. Witness the legendary Indian football stars brought back to life on the big screen in this must-watch Indian sports film.

Earlier, filmmaker Karan Johar also praised teh film and said he was excited to see the film and see Ajay Devgn’s performance. On his Instagram Stories, he said, he has heard the most amazing things about Maidaan! He is eager to see what is regarded as Ajay Devgn’s finest performance of the entire career,he added.

Ajay Devgn, Priyamani, Gajraj Rao, and Bengali actor Rudranil Ghosh are among the Maidaan cast members. The film is directed by Amit Ravindernath Sharma and produced by Zee Studios, Boney Kapoor, Arunava Joy Sengupta, and Akash Chawla. It is presented by Zee Studios & Bayview Projects in collaboration with Fresh Lime Films.

Ritesh Shah wrote the dialogue, while Saiwyn Quadras wrote the screenplay. Manoj Muntashir Shukla wrote the lyrics for the movie, while the well-known A.R. Rahman composed the soundtrack.

Maidaan opened to overwhelmingly positive reviews in every direction. The movie made Rs 2.75 crore on Day 2, bringing its total earnings to Rs 9.85 crore. In the Hindi belt, the movie saw an overall occupancy rate of 8.81 percent on April 12.

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