Indian actor Anupam Kher is proud of his 2022 controversial film The Kashmir Files and feels that its Oscar eligibility is an answer, “a slap” rather, to all the people questioning the genuineness of the main subject highlighted in the project.
Featuring Mithun Chakraborty, Darshan Kumar, Pallavi Joshi, and Kher, The Kashmir Files opened a chapter of the 1990 exodus and killings of Kashmir Pandits on the screen. While the film worked at the box office, many critics called it “propaganda” and misappropriation of facts.
In a conversation with Hindustan Times, Kher spoke about how the genocide was always a “personal subject” for him but became more personal after critics and audience called out the film for spreading “propaganda.”
“It is a shortlisting, not a nomination. But the thousand-mile journey is done by taking the first step. It’s a great feeling. The film is not just cinema, but it’s a story of all those people who suffered because of the genocide,” he said adding that he feels the film getting noticed by the Academy is also a nod to the “glory of Indian cinema.”
Kher further added how he sees the Academy recognition as an answer to those who criticised that the makers depicted fabricated history in the film. “For the past 32 years, people kept it [the genocide] under the carpet. When the story arrived, everybody sort of tried to be like ‘this did not happen.’”
Referring to all those who fought for the film’s ban and commented on how “trash” it is, he said, “When the film was accepted by the people, certain people and certain elements tried to derail the genuineness of the film. It is a slap on their face also. Because I believe that truth finally triumphs. I’m glad that this has happened.”
Speaking about the film, Kher feels like now “the world” has spoken in their favour. “It was not a regular film, which became successful artistically and commercially. It has seen so many ups and downs. Even though it got a lot of success, people still called it a propaganda film or agenda film, It is an answer to them, not that we are required to give them an answer. But it is the world who has given them the answer.”
The Uunchai actor plans to sit and discuss the plan ahead with director Vivek Agnihotri to promote the film and get it an Oscar nod. “We will see how we go about it and how we can work on it. One is always biased to your own child. So, I will want The Kashmir Files to get nominated, but I will be truly happy and proud if any of the shortlisted Indian films make the cut,” he concluded.
Along with The Kashmir Files, other Indian films including RRR, Gangubai Kathiawadi, Kantara and Chhello Show (Last Film Show) have been named in the list of 301 films eligible for Oscar nominations.