The remarks made on the Hindi film ‘The Kashmir Files’ at the 53rd IFFI(International Film Festival of India) by Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid. He was also the jury head of the event, which seems to have sparked massive outrage with now Israel’s ambassador to India. Naor Gilon, issuing an open letter over the matter.
Ali filmmaker Nadav Lapid, the jury head of the 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), on Monday described ‘The Kashmir Files’ as “propaganda” and “vulgar”. The film, which is based on the Kashmiri Hindu genocide was released in theatres on March 11, was part of the Indian Panorama Section at IFFI and was screened on November 22.
In his speech at the closing ceremony of IFFI 2022, Lapid said he was “disturbed and shocked” to see the film being screened at the film festival.
Lapid added, “I feel comfortable to openly share this feeling with you since the spirit of the festival can truly accept critical discussion which is essential for art and life”.
After actors of the film Anupam Kher, and Darshan Kumar reacted to Nadav Lapid’s ‘propaganda’ comment, Israeli ambassador to India Naor Gilon issued an open letter in which he told Nadav Lapid that he “SHOULD BE ASHAMED”.
An open letter to #NadavLapid following his criticism of #KashmirFiles. It’s not in Hebrew because I wanted our Indian brothers and sisters to be able to understand. It is also relatively long so I’ll give you the bottom line first. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED. Here’s why:
1. In Indian culture they say that a guest is like God. You have abused in the worst way the Indian invitation to chair the panel of judges at @IFFIGoa as well as the trust, respect and warm hospitality they have bestowed on you.
2. Our Indian friends brought @lioraz and @issacharoff from @FaudaOfficial in order to celebrate the love in #India towards #Fauda and #Israel. I suspect that this is maybe also one of the reasons they invited you as an Israeli and me as the ambassador of Israel.
I understand your need in retrospect to “justify” your behavior but I can’t understand why you told @ynetnews afterwards that the minister and I said on stage that there is similarity between our countries because “we fight a similar enemy and reside in a bad neighborhood”.
We did speak about the similarities and closeness between our countries. The minister spoke about his visits to Israel, it being a Hi-Tech nation and the potential of combining this with the film industry. I spoke about the fact that we grew up watching Indian films.
I also said that we should be humble when India, with such a great film culture, is consuming Israeli content (Fauda and more).
3. I’m no film expert but I do know that it’s insensitive and presumptuous to speak about historic events before deeply studying them and which are an open wound in India because many of the involved are still around and still paying a price.
4. As a son of a holocaust survivor, I was extremely hurt to see reactions in India to you that are doubting Schindler’s List, the Holocaust and worse. I unequivocally condemn such statements. There is no justification. It does show the sensitivity of the Kashmir issue here.
5. From your interview to Ynet the connection you make between your criticism of #KashmirFiles and your dislike to what is happening in Israeli politics was quite evident.
My suggestion. As you vocally did in the past, feel free to use the liberty to sound your criticism of what you dislike in Israel but no need to reflect your frustration on other countries. I’m not sure that you have enough factual basis to make such comparisons. I know I don’t.
6. You will go back to Israel thinking that you are bold and “made a statement”. We, the representatives of Israel, would stay here. You should see our DM boxes following your “bravery” and what implications it may have on the team under my responsibility.
The friendship between the people and the states of India and Israel is very strong and will survive the damage you have inflicted. As a human being I feel ashamed and want to apologize to our hosts for the bad manner in which we repaid them for their generosity and friendship.
Israel’s Consul General to Mumbai Kobbi Shoshani also opposed Lapid’s comments and 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. @vivekagnihotri”.