After a successful run of #TheTashkentFiles at the box office, it was on 3rd June that the critically acclaimed flimmaker, Vivek Agnihotri announced his new project based on Kashmir.
Suddenly, many whatsapp groups of Kashmiri Hindus, living in exile in their own country, started to express joy and the good news was broadcast many times over the next few days by both young & elderly of the community. Many congratulated Vivek and pledged support to his new endeavour.
“Finally, the truth about our Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide would be told”, said my father after coming back from office that day. My mother was more cautious in her approach. She said, “No one will tell our truth, remember that movie Haider”.
Later as he sipped tea from his cup, he continued, “I researched about Vivek Agnihotri, he is a honest person. You should see his last film ‘The Tashkent Files’. He says every citizen has the right to truth. And, do you know he is the husband of Pallavi Joshi?”. As he looked at my mother, she smiled back. Many years ago in Kashmir, friends & relatives used to compliment her by saying that she resembles Pallavi Joshi. She lost much of her charm, happiness and glow due to the forced exodus but, nevertheless, continues to be the celebrity of our home.
After this conversation, my father continued to forward the announcement to everyone in his circle. This surprised me as he has never suffered from the compulsive forwarding disorder like many do. He really does not bother too much but perhaps, he saw a hope in this initiative. Justice for our community has always been out of sight. We have been so unfortunate that no one has even cared to speak about this embarrassing stain on the democratic secular fabric of India. For a long time, it looked like speaking the truth of Kashmiri Hindus was a crime against the so called ‘Kashmiriyat’. For the community who were brutalized due to their religious identity & love for their motherland, Kashmiriyat always meant ‘Kashmir plus Shariat’ to them. To put this analogy in perspective, so far as the Hindus were willing to accept Sharia, they were welcome to stay. If not, they were either killed or hounded out.
Cut to August 5th and there were celebrations all across the country. The Government in one masterstroke abrogated the draconian Article 370 & 35A. Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh were bifurcated into separate Union Territories. As this historic blunder was corrected, entire India celebrated with the Kashmiri Hindus dancing, rejoicing and distributing sweets on the roads. The hopes were at an all time high now, the path to their homes were rediscovered. This looked like an opportune time for India to demand their right to truth.
If India needed to know what transpired in Kashmir all these years, there could not have been a better opportunity. Pleasantly, after few weeks, the next update of the previous announcement was made. The movie was officially named as ‘The Kashmir Files’ with a tagline ‘The Right to Truth Continues’ and #KashmirUnreported.
The Kashmir Files is no more a Vivek Agnihotri film. Its our film, your and mine. It is the story ‘of, for & by’ the masses in true sense. A story whose time to be told has arrived. It will be a visual document for the entire country. Civilizations who do not learn from history can never dream of a secure future. And, thats the ethos, of what this movie means to all of us. An experience to learn & discover the truth. A passage of focused light from the by-lanes of darkness.
It is for all of us to make sure that such movies succeed at the box office. Not for Vivek but to encourage other flimmakers to explore content based projects. This movie should be seen as a project by the passionate & Nationalist Indians. After all, the script is written by the blood of the victims in 1990, lest anyone forget.
For this project to turn into reality considering the challenges & complexities involved, more than the finances, Ma Bharti’s blessings are needed. We are her children, it is for us to translate those blessings into action for the team of the Kashmir Files.
The first indicator of Justice is acceptance & assistance. Perhaps that is the hope this announcement has generated. Vivek may not be a Kashmiri but if he is able to narrate this ordeal, new India will consider him a true ambassador & wellwisher of Kashmir. And, that substantiates how much it means to all of us. His flimmaking has never been a bed of roses. Going by that context alone, Kashmiri Hindus are confident of justice on the 70MM screen.