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Israel's Ambassador leads condemnation of IFFI jury chief's comment


New Delhi, Nov 29: The unwarranted criticism of 'The Kashmir Files' by the jury chief of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Israeli screenwriter and director Nadav Lapid, has drawn strong reactions from not only members of the film's cast, but also Israel's Ambassador in India, Naor Gilon, who took to Twitter to write a long open letter in English to his countryman.

Gilon prefaced his open letter with a comment that made his condemnation clear: "An open letter to #NadavLapid following his criticism of #KashmirFiles. It's not in Hebrew because I wanted our Indian brothers and sisters to be able to understand. It is also relatively long so I'll give you the bottom line first. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED."

Elsewhere, the sleeper-hit film's director, Vivek Agnihotri, tweeted: "Truth is the most dangerous thing. It can make people lie. #CreativeConsciousness." And its lead actor, Anupam Kher, declared: "No matter how high the height of the lie is, it is always small in comparison to the truth."

Actor Ranvir Shorey was also among the first to respond. He tweeted without mincing words: "The singling out of a film and the language used to describe it is completely unbecoming of a film jury or critic. It reeks of politics. Cinema has always been the harbinger of truth & change, not an agent to stifle or snuff it. Shameful display of political opportunism at #IFFI."

The film's producer, Abhishek Aggarwal, reacted by saying: "We do not need your validation #NadavLapid we have thousands of people who have gone through this holocaust and I have met many personally seen their pain & suffering." His tweet was accompanied by pictures of some of the victims of terrorist violence in Kashmir.

In his long open letter, Ambassador Naor Gilon wrote:

"In Indian culture they say that a guest is like God. You have abused in the worst way the Indian invitation to chair the panel of judges at @IFFIGoa as well as the trust, respect and warm hospitality they have bestowed on you.

"Our Indian friends brought @lioraz and @issacharoff from @FaudaOfficial in order to celebrate the love in #India towards #Fauda and #Israel. I suspect that this is maybe also one of the reasons they invited you as an Israeli and me as the ambassador of Israel.

"I'm no film expert but I do know that it's insensitive and presumptuous to speak about historic events before deeply studying them and which are an open wound in India because many of the involved are still around and still paying a price.

"As a son of a holocaust survivor, I was extremely hurt to see reactions in India to you that are doubting 'Schindler's List', the Holocaust and worse. I unequivocally condemn such statements. There is no justification. It does show the sensitivity of the Kashmir issue here."

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