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3 IFFI jurors support Nadav Lapid, Indian member Sen

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The film, which opened to polarized responses on March 11, is one of the most commercially successful Hindi films of the year.

New Delhi: Sudipto Sen, the only Indian on the jury of the just-concluded International Indian Film Festival, has argued that Israeli director Nadav Lapid’s remarks on the “Kashmir files” were his personal opinion even as three other jurors arrived to support the jury chair.

Sen’s confirmation came on Saturday after three members — American producer Jenko Goto, French editor Pascal Chavance and French documentary filmmaker Javier Angulo Bartoren — posted a statement on Twitter endorsing Lapid’s comments that sparked further controversy early this week.

The account from which the statement was posted has not been verified. Moreover, Sen’s name is not mentioned there.

As a member of the board, I confirm that we have not rewarded the Kashmir Files. We’ve only given five movies. This decision was unanimous. We have submitted an official proposal to the NFDC and the festival authority. the work is done. »

“Now if someone goes out in public and picks up a certain film and says something unexpected, that is their personal feeling. It has nothing to do with the jury,” Sen told PTI.

Lapid, who chaired the IFFI’s international jury, called “The Kashmir Files” “vulgar and propaganda” in his award speech on the closing night of the nine-day film festival on Monday.

The Kashmir Files, written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri, depicts the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from Kashmir after members of the community are murdered by Pakistan-backed terrorists.

The film, which opened to polarized responses on March 11, is one of the most commercially successful Hindi films of the year.

In the joint statement Goto posted on Twitter, the three jurors said they “endorsed” Lapid’s statement, which he made on behalf of the jury.

To be clear, we have not taken a political position on the content of the film. We were making an artistic statement, and it saddens us greatly to see the festival platform used for politics and subsequent personal attacks on Naddaf. This was never the intention of the jury. »

When asked if he had been contacted about the statement, Sen replied that they knew he disagreed with them.

“I was the only Indian in the jury. I should have been part of that jury statement. If they exclude me, it means they know Sudipto does not support it because it is not the truth.

“Now they’re not in the country. I’m in the country so I would have been the best person to defend that, but they didn’t include me. That means it’s not the jury’s decision. If the jury was unanimous in the board’s decision, why didn’t my name appear on that statement?” , did not declare.

He added that as a general rule, a jury may not decide on a particular film.

“We are a responsible jury. The Indian government has given us a certain responsibility. How can I talk about a certain movie that hasn’t been picked when there are 16 other movies that haven’t been picked either. If you’re going to pick a movie to talk about, it looks like you have a certain personal agenda.”

In his speech at the closing ceremony of the IFFI 2022 festival, Lapid said he was “upset and shocked” to see the film screened at the film festival.

“We were all upset and shocked by ‘The Kashmir Files.’ It seemed like a propaganda film and a film that did not fit into the artistic and competitive section of a prestigious film festival.

“I feel comfortable sharing these feelings with you candidly because the spirit of the festival can truly embrace critical discussion of art and life,” said the director.

Sen said Nadav did not consult the other members about what he would say at the closing ceremony.

“I knew, a man from the NFDC told us, that he had printed something accompanying the welcome, and it had not been given to him…so what he read, it was not an official statement. The statement…the ensuing quotations were official.”

Files from Kashmir included Anupam Kher, Darshan Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty and Pallavi Joshi among others. Kheir and Angoutri Lapid were targeted for his remarks.

Agnihotri said he would stop making films if Lapid proved the events depicted in his film were wrong, while the veteran actor called the Israeli writer-director “a vulgar and opportunist”.


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