By suggesting that Kashmiri Pandits should forgive the local Muslim population of Jammu & Kashmir for driving them out of their homes in 1990, Vidhu Vinod Chopra has incensed many who feel this gambit to promote his new film Shikara is a bit thin on credibility and sincerity.
The director, who has earlier gone into Kashmiri militancy on the Sanjay Dutt-Hrithik Roshan starrer Mission: Kashmir, says, “It’s like 2 friends meeting together after 30 years, who want to forget and move on!”
Netizens have erupted in a show of mass solidarity against Chopra, asking for a boycott of his film Shikara.
Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri — who is currently shooting his own film The Kashmir Files on the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits — says, “I seriously have no idea what he actually said because these days most news clips are edited out of context. Whatever he said is his prerogative and I can’t comment on that. However, what I know is, people can be forgiven when they realise their mistake and when they’re seeking forgiveness. You can’t go and forgive someone with a gun in his hand and is looking for the first opportunity to kill and destroy you. Rather than forgive, you have to defend yourself against such an aggressor and find justice, if possible.”
As for his own film, Vivek says his film is not looking to soften the blow on the Kashmiri Pandit situation. He reveals, “My film The Kashmir Files is based on the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits; it is based on their real experiences. It’s neither a love story nor a family drama. My film doesn’t preach on what they should do or how they should heal themselves, it is an uninterrupted narration of the horrors and gut-wrenching stories I have heard and recorded.”
The filmmaker, who has searched high and low for Kashmiri Pandit families who have suffered, hopes to bring light to an issue that the government has ignored for a long time.
“By the end of May, we would have covered every corner of the world where there is an aggrieved Kashmiri Pandit family. We are looking for families who have suffered, spending time with them recording their trauma. This is something the government of India should have done thirty years ago. Since they failed, we are — with our limited resources — searching and researching for the last six years on what the Kashmiri Pandits have gone through,” he concludes....