Vivek Agnihotri’s new film The Kashmir Files, which focuses on the events surrounding the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits between the late 1980s and early 1990s, has been triggering a lot of responses from day one.
It is also perhaps one of the few Bollywood film releases of the COVID-era that continues to be at the box office for 10 days now with steady earnings.
For comparison, Gangubai Kathiawadi, starring Alia Bhatt, which was released on 25 February, earned Rs 117 crore domestically in three weeks. But recently, after raking up its highest one-day collection yet on 20 March, The Kashmir Files’ total earnings now stand at Rs 167 crore roughly. This is just in 10 days!
But at the same, Vivek Agnihotri’s film has sparked a political storm with debates around what the film depicts and how polarised its reception has been on the ground.
While some feel that it is about time that the painful story of Kashmiri pandits be shared with the country unabashedly, others point out that in the process of dramatisation, the movie strays from facts and ends up vilifying and generalising Kashmiri Muslims.
But amid this cacophony of arguments and counter-arguments, a big question is, who is the film for? Does it serve the purpose of representing the plight of Kashmiri Pandits, or does it get politically co-opted?
In this episode of The Big Story, I’ll be joined by Aditya Raj Kaul, the Executive Editor of TV9 Network, and Dr Suneem Khan, a medical doctor with the Central Reserve Police Force at Srinagar who describes himself as a cinephile. We’ll hear from them their views of what the film does and doesn’t.