Director Vivek Agnihotri in a new interview compared the creation Kashmiri files under current conditions until the compilation of Schindler’s List at the height of Nazism in the 1940s. His comments left the interviewer bewildered.
Agnihotri has long been of the opinion that he created the Kashmiri Files to highlight the plight of the Kashmiri Hindus who were uprooted from their ancestral land due to terrorism. In a new interview with The New Yorker, the director denied allegations that the film was made possible by government support and that it encouraged radical right-wing critics to vilify the Muslim minority.
“It was impossible to make a film about the Kashmiri Hindu genocide,” he said. “The cause was terrorism; everyone was scared. But then we decided to do it. People came to my office and hit my manager. I was smitten. So now the government of India has given me security. And that is why they do not make films about the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus, because it is believed that if Hindus are the majority in India, then they are strong everywhere, and this is wrong. When Schindler’s List was compiled, the whole world appreciated it, and people said: “Yes, you have discovered the truth.” But imagine the creation of Schindler’s List when the Nazis ruled. Imagine you did this when Hitler ruled. Now terrorism rules.”
Asked if he suggests that terrorism rules India today, the director continued, “Oh, of course. I don’t think there is even one person who would appreciate terrorist activities. Our film is very clear about what happens when terrorism seeps in and humanity is absent. And, therefore, the impact of the film, as I wanted as a director, is exactly what happens. People cry, hug each other, say: “I’m sorry.” And all of India is coming together. And that’s why there’s so much euphoria.”
Agnihotri called The Cashmere Files a “soft, emotional film” and again stunned the interviewer. He was asked to repeat what he said. “This is an emotional film. It’s more of a feature film format than a harsh statement,” he added.
Kashmiri files is the biggest hit of the year in Hindi. It was released discreetly, but on the back of positive word of mouth, it grossed over Rs 350 crore domestically. The reviews weren’t as good. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Schindler’s List is considered one of the greatest films ever made. It told the story of a German businessman who rescued over a thousand Jewish prisoners from concentration camps and some during World War II.