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3 IFFI jurors stand by Lapid’s statements on The Kashmir Files, Indian juror lone dissenter

In a statement posted on juror Jinko Gotoh’s Twitter, jurors say they knew of & agreed with the comments. It excluded Indian juror Sudipto Sen for his separate view on the matter.

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New Delhi: A statement posted on Twitter by International Film Festival of India (IFFI)  jury member Jinko Gotoh, with fellow jurors Pascale Chavance and Javier Angulo Barturen as the undersigned, Saturday, said they knew of and agreed with what Nadav Lapid said about The Kashmir Files at the event in Goa.

Jinko Gotoh is an Oscar-nominated American producer, Javier A Barturen, is a documentary filmmaker and journalist from France and Pascale Chavance is a film editor from France.

The lone dissenting member is the Indian juror, filmmaker Sudipto Sen.

Israeli filmmaker Lapid, who was invited to chair the jury at IFFI, described The Kashmir Files, a film directed by Vivek Agnihotri about the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandit community, as “vulgar” and “propaganda” at the festival’s closing ceremony on 29 November. This sparked huge controversy and debate in the country and even led to the Israeli envoy to India tweeting an open letter condemning Lapid’s remarks.

In their joint statement, the jurors highlighted that Lapid had said he did not mean to deny the tragedy of Kashmiri Pandits but had only commented on the movie’s “cinematic manipulations”, and that the tragedy “deserves a serious movie”.

“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 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,” it read.

“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,” it stated.

The Kashmir Files features Anupam Kher, Darshan Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty and Pallavi Joshi among others. Both Kher and Agnihotri have targeted Lapid for his remarks. The veteran actor called the Israeli writer-director a “person who himself is vulgar and an opportunist”.

Also Read: Lapid criticised Kashmir Files. He knows how States used cinema for propaganda

Only dissenting member

Sudipto Sen, the lone Indian on the jury, Saturday maintained that the remarks made by Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid were his personal opinion even as three other co-jurors came out in support of the jury head. Sen told PTI that they awarded five films, which didn’t include The Kashmir Files and that this decision was unanimous. “After that jury board’s work is done.”

“Now following that, if somebody goes in public and picks up one particular film and says something which is not expected, then that is his personal feeling. It has nothing to do with the jury board,” he explained.

Sudipto Sen said that they knew he didn’t agree with them, which is why his name is not on the joint statement.

“I was the only Indian on the jury. I should have been part of that statement of the jury board. If they have excluded me, that means they know that Sudipto does not stand by it because that is not the truth,” he said.

“Now they’re not in the country. I am in the country. So I would’ve been the best person to defend that, but they did not include me. It means it’s not the jury board’s decision. If it is unanimous jury board’s decision, why my name is not in this statement? (sic)” he asked.

Sen’s latest film, The Kerala Story, is about girls from Kerala being recruited into ISIS. The film has received flak for inflating the number of such incidents.

(Edited by Theres Sudeep)

Also Read: ‘Hitler was great’ — Israel envoy to India receives anti-Semitic messages, shares on Twitter


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