Nadav Lapid issues apology over 'Kashmir Files', says 'I didn't want to insult anyone'
New Delhi, Dec 01: In a surprising move, Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid has apologised over his recent remarks about 'The Kashmir Files' which triggered widespread anger in India.
Speaking with CNN-News18, Nadav said, "I didn't want to insult anyone, and my aim was never to insult people or their relatives, who have suffered. I totally totally totally apologize if that's the way they interpreted."
This development has taken many by a surprise as a day ago he had refused to apologise. The Israeli filmmaker has also said that he has respect for the tragedy and never intended to address the current climate in Kashmir. "I have enormous respect for the tragedy, victims, survivors and for whoever suffers there. It (my remarks) was not at all about this. I'll repeat these words 10,000 times if I have to say that I was not talking about the political issue, historical equation, or disrespecting the tragedy that happened in Kashmir," he said. "I was talking about the movie and that such serious topics deserve, in my opinion, a serious film," he added.
"We all thought that the movie used a series of manipulation, vulgar, and violence because it was supposed to transmit a message that can cause hostility, violence and hate in the environment," he added.
However, Lapid stated that it was not just his individual opinion rather the remarks reflected the views of the jury. "But at the same time, whatever I said and I said clearly that for me and my fellow jury members, it was and it is a vulgar propaganda movie that didn't have a place and was inappropriate for such a prestigious competitive section. I can repeat it again and again," he added.
Notably, Sudipto Sen, who was also part of the jury, has distanced himself from Lapid's comments. He shared a strong-worded letter disapproving the comments made by the jury head.
"Whatever has been said by IFFI 2022 Jury Chairman Mr. Nadav Lapid about the film Kashmir Files, from the stage of closing ceremony of 53-rd IFFI was completely his personal opinion. In the official presentation of the Jury Board to the Festival Director and in the official Press Conference, where we 4 juries (the fifth jury had to leave for her personal emergency) were present and interacted with the press, we never mentioned anything about our likes or dislikes," he said.
"As juror, we are assigned to judge the technical, aesthetic quality and socio-cultural relevance of a film. We don't indulge in any kind of political comments on any film and if it is done, it is completely in personal capacity - nothing to do with the esteemed Jury Board," he added.
Even director Vinod Ganatra has condemned the remarks made by Nadav Lapid. "If the jury talks like this, then what about Schindler's List? I strongly oppose and condemn this jury's comment. I am also the chairman of the feature jury and I feel that it is insulting to India and for a film like this," he said.
"The jury didn't understand the spirit behind making this film. It is a highly-technically superb film. I, as a responsible filmmaker who has traveled for 96 jury assignments, a responsible filmmaker, and the only Indian who has won the Liv Ullmann Peace Prize, condemn this comment. If a jury feels like this, then it is insulting. It is a politically motivated comment. He can't say that all the jury members felt like that. It is a matter of shame for all of us. I strongly feel that this is an insult to the country. He is an Israeli. What about Schindler's List which won Oscar? Because it is related to Israelis, they don't have a problem," Ganatra added.
Nadav Lapid called 'The Kashmir Files' as "vulgar" and "propaganda" film at the closing ceremony of IFFI (International Film Festival of India) which triggered massive outrage in India. In fact, Israeli Ambassador to India, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, Naor Golin too slammed the comments and said that the Leftist filmmaker should be "ashamed of himself" for making those controversial comments.
"It wasn't a personal opinion at all," Lapid countered.
Earlier, speaking to Israeli news website, he said, "It's crazy, what's going on here. It's a government festival and it's the biggest in India. It's a film that the Indian government, even if it didn't actually make it, at least pushed it in an unusual way. It basically justifies the Indian policy in Kashmir, and it has fascist features,"
"It seemed to us like a propagandist movie inappropriate for an artistic, competitive section of such a prestigious film festival," he added. Talking about the comments that claim that the movie showcased the dimensions hidden by intellectuals and the media, "It is always the same method - that there is the foreign enemy, and there are traitors from within," Nadav added in the interview.