The Kashmir files helped people all over the world to be aware of the tragedy that happened to Kashmiri Pandits in 1990s, said Anupam Kher, lead actor in the movie. He was participating in IFFI Table Talks held in connection with the 53rd International Film Festival of India in Panaji, Goa. “It is a film based on true incidents. Film Director Vivek Agnihotri interviewed around 500 people all around the world for the movie. On the night of 19th January 1990, 5 lakhs Kashmiri Pandits had to leave their homes and memories in the Kashmir valley following rising violence. As a Kashmiri Hindu, I lived with the tragedy. But nobody was recognizing the tragedy. World was trying to hide this tragedy. The film started a healing process by documenting the tragedy”, Anupam Kher added.
Reminiscing the process of giving life to a tragedy he suffered, Anupam Kher said that The Kashmir Files is not just a film to him, but an emotion which he portrayed on screen. “Since I represent the people who got expelled from their homes, I consider it a great responsibility to express it in the best possible manner. My tears, my difficulties which you are seeing in this film are all real,” he described.
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Anupam Kher further said that in this film instead of using his craft as an actor, he used his soul to give expression to the truth behind real life incidents. He also highlighted that the main theme behind the movie is to never give up. “Hope is always around the corner”, he said.
Covid pandemic and ensuing lockdown has influenced the way in which people watch movies. Emphasising this fact further, Anupam Kher said that with the OTT platforms, audience have got into the habit of watching world cinema and multilingual films. “The audience got a taste of realistic films. Those films which has an element of reality will surely connect with the audience. The success of films like Kashmir Files is a testament to it. Without any songs, any comedy, the film turned out still amazing. This is actually the triumph of cinema”, he added.
As a piece of advice to upcoming filmmakers, he said that one should remove the notion from their minds that they are from a particular language film industry. “Instead, the film makers must identify themselves as film makers from the Indian film industry doing a particular language film. It is a larger-than-life film industry”.
Recalling his journey with IFFI, Anupam Kher said that he first attended IFFI in 1985 as a 28-year-old for his film Saaransh. “Since I played a 65-year-old character in that movie, nobody recognised me at IFFI that time. 37 years later with over 532 films, it’s a great moment for me to be in Goa again for IFFI which has turned into an iconic festival and one of the best in the world”, he said.
At the interaction Anupam Kher also announced that he will produce the Odiya film Pratikshya – story of father-son duo with unemployment as a dominant theme – in Hindi, with him playing one of the main roles. Director of Prathikshya Anupam Patnaik was also sharing the dais at the interaction organised by PIB with media at the festival venue. Abhishek Agarwal, Producer of Kashmir Files who joined the conversation said that it was the film which chose him and not the other way around.