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Vivek Agnihotri says he’s ‘bankrupt’: What I earned from The Kashmir Files, I put into…’

In an interview with HT, director Vivek Agnihotri explains his tweet about glamourising violence in films, profits made from The Kashmir Files and more.

Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri is out with a new web series The Kashmir Files Unreported. It shows Kashmiri Pandits sharing their own stories from the violence and exodus in 1990 and released on ZEE5 on August 11. Amid the show’s release, Vivek answered a few questions about the preceding film, The Kashmir Files, which went on to collect ₹350 crore at the box office. Also read: Vivek Agnihotri on challenges of making The Kashmir Files Unreported: ‘Victims had trust deficit’

In an interview with Hindustan Times, Vivek shared his own reasons behind why The Kashmir Files continues to be questioned by a section of the society. He also talked about his share in the profits from the film’s collection and the violence shown in the film that left the audience numb in theatres. Excerpts:

You have said there is no line in The Kashmir Files which is false. Why do you think some are still questioning the film?

Who are these people? Anybody who stands up against The Kashmir Files is exactly the same person who is also against abrogation of Article 370, the same person who is always talking in favour of Pakistan. These are exactly the same people who have been supporting terrorism indirectly. They are giving ideological cover to terrorism in Kashmir. These are exactly the same people who stand with free Kashmir and who stand with tukde tukde gang. So you figure out that why these people have sympathy or support for terrorism industry. Then you will understand why they are against The Kashmir Files because this film for the first time has exposed terrorism like no other film in India has been able to do.

Because I have shown Yasin Malik the way he is. In fact, the most powerful dialogues and the best characters are of Radhika Menon (played by Pallavi Joshi) and Yasin Malik (named Farooq Malik Bitta in film and played by Chinmay Mandlekar) and they speak exactly what they want to speak; not like villains, but real people. That’s why they hated it. Because I have exposed them, I understand their politics.

Watch: Vivek Agnihotri On The Kashmir Files Unreported And Controversies Surrounding Him

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Pallavi Joshi’s character was named Radhika Menon in The Kashmir Files. Does this mean you were indicating that Kashmiri pundits were deceived by their own people, intellectuals from the same religion?

Of course. Arundhati Roy is from which religion? I have no idea, I seriously don’t know where she is from. But then there are lots of professors in JNU who have openly been giving speeches to make Kashmir free.

You are now working on The Vaccine War. Do you think it can repeat the commercial success of The Kashmir Files?

I don’t care about all these things. In my mind, Kashmir Files is a commercial success for you, maybe for Zee, for people who really made money. I am one of the beneficiaries, not the major beneficiary. It was the product of Zee. Whatever money I earned, I put into my next film which is The Vaccine War and I am bankrupt as usual. Pallavi and I were discussing that we are broke again. So for the next film, the struggle begins again.

You said in a tweet that glamorizing extreme violence in cinema is called talent. What about the violence shown in The Kashmir Files?

I have not created that violence. I have not glorified that violence. I have shown the violence like it took place. There is nothing wrong with showing a war. But showing your children war games all the time, where he is killing everybody and unnecessarily glorifying him, that is wrong. Glorifying violence for the sake of violence is wrong. But showing violence how it took place to kill humanity is perfectly alright.

We should be able to draw that line like the kind of violence which is taking place in Bengal under the rule of madam Mamata Banerjee. If somebody shows it, most welcome. But showing violence where somebody is taking a gun or sword and killing everybody, like in typical Bollywood violent films, I think that glorification is not very good.

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