The Kashmir Files: Why it’s not a dishonest propaganda film

Everyone is still talking about it and everyone wants to watch it - not because it is entertaining but because it is educating a whole generation about the truth.

I recently read a review published in an Indian film magazine that called The Kashmir Files “dodgy”, “exploitative” and “dishonest.”

Saw the film along with a houseful audience and would assure the readers that it is none of the above.

The Kashmir Files, a 170-minute film, is a must-watch to learn about the plight of our fellow citizens, our Kashmiri Pandits in the 1990s – something that the Left cabal has tried to erase from our collective memory.

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The movie based on factual video interviews of the first generation victims of the Genocide of Kashmiri Pandits tells the story of a Kashmiri Pandit student who discovers that his parents were also killed by Jihadi terrorists.  

Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri’s film will shake anyone with a conscience to the core to learn how the Kashmiri Pandits were not just mistreated but brutally raped, killed and shoved out of their own homes and beloved land by perpetrators who probably were one of them just 2-5 generations before (Kashmiri Pandits converted to Islam).

Image source: A scene from the Kashmir Files.

It is indeed a sad story, or rather reality, of how various governments of India chose to turn a blind eye towards this brutality and plight of the Kashmiri Pandits. And worse still, allowed for a relapse of the killing 12-13 years later, in a refugee camp. Shameful to say the least!

I agree there are certain aesthetic shortcomings of the film but these can be attributed to the small budget. The movie starts well and takes a storytelling approach. It eventually slips into a documentary mode and the last 20 mins may disappoint due to the weak screenplay.

I think VRA could have given a proper closure towards the end. I don’t mean a rosy ending, but a call for action – a small narrative or scrolling text stating the current state of Kashmiri Pandits or some live clips of their interviews would have been more powerful!

I got to watch this movie in Mumbai, India, on day 5 of its release. The buzz was electrifying and just refused to die till week 3 when I returned to Melbourne.

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As I said earlier, I saw a ‘House Full’ board after ages. The film sidelined many others such as Jhund, Radhe Shyam, and Bacchan Pandey – all getting limited shows.

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh has infarct called the Kashmir Files a “phenomenal success.”

Everyone is still talking about it and everyone wants to watch it – not because it is entertaining but because it is educating a whole generation about the truth.

I was amazed when I was at the temple where they were discussing how many tickets they wanted and the chief priest yelled from the main temple that he would join too. The power of word of mouth, the power of truth is on full display!

I hope that this film achieves two things.

Firstly, more such hidden and suppressed stories come out on the big screen as it is essential for people to know what has happened in the past and how it has been suppressed by some vested interests. In the end, we must be open to all narratives as long as they show the truth.

Secondly, there should be a proper call for action on the next steps so such things do not happen again. Otherwise, I am afraid that this film and its success will be forgotten in a few weeks. We need a continued movement to get the truth to the people.

Do watch this film if you get a chance and share this review in your network.

Contributing Author: Sanjiv Kulkarni is an ardent Indian cinema buff with an interest in the art of movie-making. He shares his take on movies and some rarer movies too. He lives in Melbourne and works as an IT Sales leader.