3 other IFFI jurors say they stand by Lapid’s ‘Kashmir Files’ views

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The winner of British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), Jinko Gotoh, who was part of the five-member jury for the International Competition at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), has said that she and two of her fellow jurors stand by the statement made by jury chairperson, Nadav Lapid at the closing ceremony that the Bollywood film “The Kashmir Files” was a “propaganda” movie.

A statement posted by Gotoh on Twitter said, “At the festival’s closing ceremony, Nadav Lapid, the jury’s president, made a statement on behalf of the jury members stating: ‘We were all of us disturbed and shocked by the 15th film, The Kashmir Files, that felt to us like a vulgar propaganda movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.’ We stand by his statement. And to clarify we were not taking a political stance on the film’s content. We were making an artistic statement, and it saddens us greatly to see the festival platform being used for politics and subsequent personal attacks on Nadav.

That was never the intention of the jury.”

Besides Gotoh, who is an Oscar-nominated American producer, the statement posted on her twitter handle, was signed by two other jurors of the 53rd IFFI. They were documentary filmmaker, film critic and journalist from France, Javier Angulo Barturen, and French film editor Pascale Chavance.

Lapid, Gotoh, Barturen, Chavance and film director Sudipto Sen, who has worked predominantly in Indian cinema, comprised the jury.

When asked why he spoke about a movie that wasn’t selected for an award, Lapid told the media, “Yes, basically, the jury does not do that. They are supposed to watch movies, savour them, talk about their merits and select winners. But then basically movies like ‘The Kashmir Files’ shouldn’t be part of the competition section at film festivals. I have been part of the jury in dozens of festivals, including the international ones held in Berlin, Cannes, Locarno and Venice. Never ever have I watched a movie like ‘The Kashmir Files’ at these festivals. When you show a movie like this to the jury, you force them to behave differently.”

Released on March 11, this year, ‘The Kashmir Files’, was panned by critics. The film, which was declared tax-free, is based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley in the 1990s.—KMS