Singapore has banned the controversial Hindi film ‘The Kashmir Files’, saying that the film could cause enmity between communities and disrupt religious harmony.
“The film will be refused classification for its provocative and one-sided portrayal of Muslims and the depictions of Hindus being persecuted in the ongoing conflict in Kashmir,” the country’s Infocomm Media Development Authority has said, according to news agency PTI.
The film is a 2022 Indian Hindi-language drama about the exodus of Hindu people during the Kashmir Insurgency in 1990. It has been released in a number of countries with varying age restrictions and there have been reports that it has been banned in some jurisdictions.
Earlier in March, the film had been reclassified to allow it for audiences aged 18 or older. “Members of the Muslim community I spoke to are genuinely concerned the film would negatively affect them. Hindu representatives felt strongly that the film showed an important part of their history,” NZ Chief Censor David Shanks announced.
Release of Vivek Agnihotri’s film The Kashmir Files has caused a veritable storm among India’s non resident Indian (NRI) population across the globe. Claims of propaganda have cropped up along with assertions of “depiction of truth” by the other side – a clear line divides viewers into two distinctly separate groups.
In his film, Agnihotri shows his young hero, Krishna, transform into a righteous, nationalist Hindu despite the machinations of a cunning and ‘liberal’ lady-professor. Coincidentally, in Germany of the 1930s, a film called Hitler Youth Quex, depicted a young man’s transformation from a communist sympathiser to an unquestioning follower of the Hitler Youth movement and the “new” Germany. In both films, the young man is transformed into a political property of the state.
Propaganda films were an important asset of the Nazi regime. Perhaps the most profound archetype was the 1940 production of Jud Suss, a brutal anti-Semitic film based on a story set in the 18th century. There were special screenings of the movie for concentration camp guards and SS commandos before they left for a mission. The story was billed as history that urged its audience to learn its lessons from the film in order to spare exploitation of future generations by the “treacherous” Jews, who lust after power, money and sex.
Hindu organisations are promoting the film on social media in a big way. Theatres are being booked and people are requesting Hindus to watch the film. Unsurprisingly, only Hindus are being urged to watch. Gone are the days of Ramayana and Mahabharata on Sunday morning television, people are now being pushed to watch graphic violence and one-sided story-telling as a part of their religious duty.
Take the chilling words from the Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development, Smriti Irani, who tweeted about the film: “Watch …so that this history soaked in the blood of innocents may never repeat itself.”
In an unprecedented move, even the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi has spoken up about the film and the “facts” that needs to be said.