It may have been an Israeli director and screenwriter, invited by the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) to head its jury, whose criticism of ‘The Kashmir Files’ has stirred a hornet’s nest, but the Vivek Agnihotri movie’s lead actor, Anupam Kher, used the opportunity to attack the #Toolkit gang.
Tweeting in Hindi, Kher said: “The truth of ‘The Kashmir files’ is stuck like a thorn in the throat of some people. They are neither able to swallow it, nor spit it out! Their soul is dead and they are desperately struggling to prove the film’s truth as a lie. But our film is now a movement, not a film. The despicable #Toolkit gang, keep trying!”
Noticeably, there’s not a word of criticism on Nadav Lapid, the Israeli director-screenwriter who stoked the controversy. Lapid, who’s a critic of his own government’s policies in the occupied West Bank, was only indirectly referred to as his own country’s enemy by Kher towards the conclusion of a longer video he posted on Twitter.
In his video, Kher said: “Friends, some people do not like to show or talk about the truth as it is. They like to embellish the truth, decorate it, beautify it, with their favourite flavours and colours. Only then can they digest it. They want the truth about Kashmir to be shown through a beautiful, colourful lens. This is what they have been doing for the past 25-30 years.
“Today, after ‘The Kashmir Film’ has exposed the ugly truth of Kashmir to the world, these people are feeling queasy, they are experiencing spasms in their stomach. If you cannot see and recognise the fearsome horrible truth, then close your eyes and stitch your lips, but don’t make fun of it.
“Don’t make fun of it because we have suffered because of this truth. Our daughters and sisters have been singed by it. This ugly truth has become an inseparable part of our lives. Generations have to live with it. Go, and ask those who have suffered about their pain, their fearful truth.”
Towards the end of the video, Kher warmed up to the subject of the similarities between “ordinary Israeli citizens” and Kashmiri Hindus. He said: “India and Israel have been good friends. Both ordinary Israeli citizen and Kashmiri Hindus have been victims of terrorism. Yet, each country has its share of enemies of the country. Jai Hind!”