India

Islamic terrorists force-fed blood-soaked rice to a Kashmiri Hindu, sawed a woman in half, but Anupma Chopra chooses to savour that blood

On the 6th of March, my husband, who is woefully apolitical and I went for the special screening of Vivek Agnihotri’s ‘The Kashmir Files’. I won’t lie, on my way, I casually wondered to my husband if this would be just another movie that waters down the carnage unleashed on the Kashmiri Hindus. Would they show the Islamic chants of Ralive, Tsalive, Galive (Convert to Islam, leave the place or die)? Would they show the chants against Kafirs in the Islam dominated valley? Would they should the Indian flagged being ripped, women being raped, children being murdered amidst the chants of Allahu Akbar? Would they show that the Islamic beasts wanted a Kashmir free from Hindus but with Hindu women, who they could rape, subjugate and turn into slaves?

As my mind reeled, I reached the theatre a little late. I am new to Delhi after I left Bengal when political violence gripped the state after the 2021 assembly elections and Mamata Banerjee thought it was a great idea to slap CID cases against me, and I still haven’t figured out the traffic cycles of the city. Seated in the front row, I watched an Arundhati Roy looking character, played by the supremely talented Pallavi Joshi, giving a speech about the freedom of Kashmir.

The movie revolves around the journey of a young student played by Darshan Kumaar, who goes from being influenced by the projectile vomit of the character played by Pallavi Joshi to finally learning about the genocide of his own people.

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Frankly, when I joined OpIndia, it was to write and what the job snowballed into was an unforeseen result of the work we do. To sustain this life, one needs a healthy dose of paranoia coupled with dollops of anger. Anger at the lies being spread. At the dead bodies of Hindus that nobody seems to notice. At Islamists running rampage on a daily basis and the nation bending a knee to those who take to the streets screaming “Gustakhe Rasool ki saza, sar tan se juda”. Yes, it needs one to be decently well-versed with the English language, a hunger to search for the truth, and a passion to work till your eyelids are held up with toothpicks, like those exhausted cats in cartoons, but most of all, it needs anger. It is that anger, born out of the love for one’s nation and for Hindus, particularly, that drives any of us to do this job on a daily basis.

If in the past couple of years, I felt my fuel, my anger to do this job, dwindling, I can safely say that Kashmir Files served a top-up that would drive me at least for the next couple of years. And this wasn’t just me. A dear friend of mine who practices as a lawyer had similar thoughts. In fact, we met briefly after a couple of days and The Kashmir Files, how it made us feel and how it gave us an ‘anger top-up’, so to say, was the focus on our brunch.

Writing movie reviews is a tough job. You want to tell readers about the movie but not give away the storyline completely. In this movie, however, the storyline is pretty simple – it is the unvarnished truth of what happened to the Kashmiri Hindus and the fate they met at the hands of Islamic terrorists. It couples the blood-soaked tales of Kashmiri Hindus with the campus politics we see today, that diminish the plight of the Hindus as a fantastical tale, aiding the Islamists to paint themselves as the victims. It shows just how craftily young men and women are brainwashed to believe that no genocide really took place in Kashmir and the Hindus simply up and left, repeating this tale ad nauseam over the past 30 years because they had convinced themselves of a lie due to politicians and their propaganda.

The actual story of what happens to Kashmiri Hindus is told in flashback. Sitting in the theatre, you can almost smell the blood of the Hindus and feel it dripping down your face. In one scene, where Vivek Agnihotri recreates the massacre at Nadimarg village near Shopian in Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir, Hindus are shot at point-blank range one by one. In the pin-drop silence of the theatre, I shuddered in my seat with each bullet being fired. 24 Hindus were killed on that fateful 2003 night when terrorists came calling, dressed in Army fatigues, to murder Hindus. When one of the terrorists says “Ye karnawun chupe” (silence the baby) and an infant is shot, images of my own daughter flashed before my eyes almost instinctively and I burst into tears.

In another scene, a mother is force-fed rice soaked in her husband’s blood. This was the recreation of a brutal murder from 1990 when terrorists came for BK Ganjoo, who hid in a rice barrel. He was shot multiple times and the rice, soaked in his blood, was force-fed to his wife. The heart-wrenching story of Girija Tickoo also makes an appearance, albeit, with certain artistic liberties – not with how she was murdered, but the events as the murder unfolded. They do not particularly show that she was gang-raped for days before she was murdered, however, they do show her being disrobed by the terrorists – showing just enough for people to at least Google and find out what really happened to her.

When the movie ended, every person seated in that theatre sat through the movie credits. In those 3 minutes, nobody spoke. Not a word. Not a sound was made. It was not really because people wanted to give the technicians the respect of reading their names. It was because people, including myself, needed those 3 minutes to compose ourselves after sitting through that horror (and I say the movie was a horror as a compliment).

With viewers walking out of the movie feeling shaken, stirred and everything in between, one has to wonder what goaded Anupama Chopra, a veteran movie reviewer, to publish the most insipid review of the movie, which essentially not only denied Vivek Agnihotri the credit for immortalising the suffering of Kashmiri Hindus but also denied the genocide that took place in 1990.

What does the despicable review published by Anupama Chopra say

The 6 paragraph review of Kashmir Files published by Anupama Chopra (written by some sidekick called Rahul Desai) essentially denies that genocide of Hindus ever happened in Kashmir. While denying the genocide, it calls the movie a bad attempt at propaganda or worse, a “revisionist drama” saying that the “film reimagines the exodus as a full-scale genocide – where every Hindu is a tragic Jew, every Muslim is a murderous Nazi”. It says, “Dramatizing a story of persecution and oppression is not a problem; the lesser-known Children of War comes to mind. Designing it solely to provoke and prey on the insecurities of today is a problem. This is less of an education and more of a defensive political statement and living-room debate parading as a movie”.

The review further says, “Even if I were to buy into the film’s dodgy worldview, the film-making is exploitative – geared towards riding the current wave of Hindu nationalism rather than empathizing with the displaced victims of history. None of it stems from a genuine space of understanding or curiosity, with the writing operating on only two extreme levels: verbose discussions and all-out torture porn”.

The author says that the movie ends up reducing the Kashmiri Hindus to cultural corpses and that he is not sure whether the Muslims (who were villainized) should be more offended or the Hindus who were “reduced to cultural corpses”. He further goes on to say that the movie is based on “artful theories” of the maker.

In the review, the author craftily sneaks in that he would really like to call the Kashmiri terrorists “rebels” but he is choosing the call them a less watered-down version – militant – because he does not want to be cancelled.

Writing about the speech by the main character, Krishna, who changes the hearts of JNU students by his speech on the glory of Kashmir’s Hindu past, the author says that it was unrealistic since the JNU students could not possibly realise that was he speaking the truth about the genocide of Hindus in “6 minutes flat”. A tall admission of the average intellect of the JNU student, but we will come to that later.

The seemingly deranged author ends his rant with this expressing his disdain for the national flag and the anthem since he “hopes” it was not a part of the movie itself but just the mandatory pre-film anthem.

But as far as propaganda vehicles go, The Kashmir Files isn’t as harmlessly tacky as something like PM Narendra Modi; it also isn’t nearly as troublingly competent as Uri: The Surgical Strike either. This middling status is strange. I did think the director was angling for Leni Riefenstahl’s visual aesthetic when I saw the film’s opening shot: the calibrated fluttering of the tri-colour, with the national anthem steadily building in volume. Only later did I realize that this shot was actually the mandatory pre-film anthem. At least I hope it was.

Dismantling the garbage review of The Kashmir Files by Anupama Chopra’s sidekick

Anyone can either like or dislike a movie, and that is perfectly fine. We can feel that a speech was a little longer than it should have been or the camera work could have been better, so on and so forth. But it is woefully evident that the rant published by Anupama Chopra’s sidekick isn’t about the aesthetics of the movie or that Vivek Agnihotri particularly lacks the requisite skill to make a good movie – it is about the subject chosen and the fact that the naked, unvarnished truth about the genocide of Hindus was not toned down to suit the sensibility of those ingrate elements of the society who would want to call armed Islamic terrorists, “rebels”.

The author reveals that his main issue with the movie was not that it is unbelievable that JNU students would change their minds in 6 minutes, but the fact that Agnihotri has shown what happened in the 1990s in Kashmir as a “full-blown genocide” and not only an “exodus”.

I don’t particularly expect entertainment journalists to be bright, given that their job description is writing trashy reviews and reporting the colour of Taimur’s soiled diaper, but perhaps the author would do well to look up the definition of genocide according to the United Nations (since organisations run by white men are beloved by this lot).

Article 2 of the Genocide convention defines a genocide as:

Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: 

  1. Killing members of the group; 
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; 
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Is it the author’s contention that the Kashmiri terrorists did want to destroy Kashmiri Hindus as a religious group?

Here are some of the slogans that were raised in 1990 when Hindus were slaughtered on the streets:

“Zalimo, O Kafiro, Kashmir harmara chod do.”

(O! Merciless, O! Kafirs, leave our Kashmir)

“Kashmir mein agar rehna hai, Allah-ho-Akbar kahna hoga.”

(Anyone wishing to live in Kashmir will have to convert to Islam)

“La Sharqia la gharbia, Islamia! Islamia!”

(From East to West, there will be only Islam)

“Kashmir banega Pakistan.”

(Kashmir will become Pakistan)

“Pakistan se kya Rishta? La Ilah-e-Illalah.”

(Islam defines our relationship with Pakistan)

“Kashmir banawon Pakistan, Bataw varaie, Batneiw saan.”

(We will turn Kashmir into Pakistan, along with the Kashmiri Pandit women, but not their men)

Can the author in good conscience, if he has one, say that these slogans were not aimed against the religious minority of Kashmir? That Hindu women being raped and sawed in half is not a part of their genocide? Those wives being fed rice laced with their husband’s blood is not as gruesome as he would want genocide to be?

What is exactly the benchmark for genocide according to our in-house Taimur’s soiled diaper connoisseur? Perhaps one of those fake hate crimes where Muslim men were forced to chant Jai Shree Ram? We would never know.

What is far more shocking is that this review has been published on Anupama Chopra’s website. The wife of Vidhu Vinod Chopra, a Kashmiri Hindu himself. It is entirely possible that Chopra is miffed that her husband’s propaganda movie on Kashmiri Hindus tanked miserably, drawing the ire of the Kashmiri Hindu community across the board for whitewashing Islamic terrorism and the genocide of Hindus. Spousal love can be a powerful thing, driving one to commit career suicide just to follow in the husband’s footsteps. However, her spousal anger does not take away from the fact that Vivek Agnihotri’s movie captures the naked brutality unleashed by Islamic barbarians against the Hindu community some 30 years ago. That the author thinks it villainies the Muslim community is so cliched that it perhaps does not even deserve a response.

By publishing this stomach-turning review of The Kashmir Files, Anupama Chopra has chosen to savour the blood spilt by the Islamic terrorists and revel in the trauma of Hindus.

The Kashmir Files breaks the glass ceiling in more ways than one. First and foremost, it is a giant step for independent filmmakers – the establishment can be against you but you can make movies that matter. Second, it is perhaps the first mainstream effort to tell the brutally honest, unvarnished truth about the genocide of Hindus, particularly, that of Kashmiri Hindus. It sets the tone and will give confidence to filmmakers to venture into this space, much to the benefit of the Hindu community. The endless tales of human suffering, of massacres and genocides, or torture and conversion must be told artfully as the written word is no match to visual cues and The Kashmir Files is a step that will be etched in our memories forever – The opinions of those sampling diapers of star babies and gym photos of actresses notwithstanding.

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