Vivek Agnihotri filmed it subtle enough to shake the composite soul of mankind and created a timeless piece that is plainly a pious document of truth.
It was the 8.25 pm show at Bioscope, Kolkata, and I didn't expect a hall full of audience as The Kashmir Files was scheduled to end late at 11.10 pm. Public transport being truly scarce these days, people would find it difficult to disperse off back home late at night from Bioscope. Hence, hardly a handful of co-viewer would accompany me in the hall, I estimated. Moreover, I hardly expected the secular crowd of Kolkata to be sensitive to the theme of Kashmir Files as this is the crowd who initiated to opine post-poll Bengal Violence 2021, an imaginary portrayal of brutality that never happened. They also added post-poll violence was a dirty fantasy of a particular political party who wanted to play communal in West Bengal (as if Kolkata and West Bengal never suffered the toxin before).
Kolkata, I know, is full of Krishna Pandits who tend to think if a group of people continue to suffer poverty, lack of education and oppression for long, they might turn unduly aggressive. While common men might be insensitive to call them 'terrorists', they might be revolutionaries in reality. I observed Marxist grooming tried to implant this psyche in the Bengal populace since the early sixties & men here could not resist that brainwash.
Pretty much to my surprise and contrary to my contemplation, Bioscope Screen 4 was full at 8.25 pm. At 9.47 pm, when the film broke into intermission, leaving me still as stone on my seat with blurred eyeglasses and a soggy kerchief on my lap, people around me started moving out of the hall, living up to my apprehensions. They were leaving as they're insensitive enough not to believe in the film's content, I assumed. As a 1st generation descendant of a refugee family from East Pakistan, I remained ever disgruntled about people's insensitivity of the real reason behind Hindu exodus from East Pakistan and hence, apprehended Kolkata crowd won't perhaps believe in the content of The Kashmir Files. They're leaving the hall at the intermission fit into such pre-conceived assessment. But more tears trickled ceaselessly down my cheeks as I saw all of them returning inside after the break. They couldn't leave. The Kashmir Files removed the shroud of narratives from over the mighty truth of Kashmiri Pandits.
As I watched The Kashmir Files, the details of the film were fascinating. While the filmmaker didn't take a single step away from a dignitarian approach to portray the worst fate of humanity and one of the goriest savageries against mankind, the viewer had no difficulty in perceiving the blood-curdling terror Kashmir was subjected to. Vivek Agnihotri filmed it subtle enough to shake the composite soul of mankind.
On the one hand, The Kashmir Files is enough of a feature film to surmount the limitations of documentary films, while on the other, it is enough of a documentary not to deviate even a single millimetre from the subjective truth.
Vivek Agnihotri created a timeless piece that is plainly a pious document of truth. The Kashmir Files would ever be treated as a text reference of the Kashmiri Hindu Genocide and not as I film in due course of time. As reactants stay together under controlled conditions for long & yield end products quite different from original reactants through slow organic reactions, Vivek Agnihotri's Kashmir Files too would raise the human race to a different level of realization that might lead to a historical course correction of human civilization itself.
The film, to be precise, is more of a forensic reconstruction of the Kashmiri Hindu Genocide's long-term impact whereof on the human mind may not be fully known to the filmmaker himself. His monumental research work needs to be stacked for future reference.
The Pandits, even while facing the monstrous evil of Islamic Jihad on earth, couldn't believe their own eyes & senses, as we are taught to possess large human hearts to form a consortium of all within. The Islamists who attacked them came up with the antithesis of consortium. They were in ceaseless conflict with everything non-Islamic and determined to grab the land of Kashmir along with properties and women of Kashmiri Hindus. They were hardly in possession of any ability to realize how they travelled opposite to light and were dragging mankind back to primitive darkness. Pushkar Nath was struggling with his soul to believe his own student Bitta could do all those he did. So couldn't believe innumerable Bengali Hindus of East Pakistan who too had to leave their place, stories of which are yet to be told.
The Kashmir Files is wisdom on screen. I couldn't have sensed the truest essence of pain I marked in my Jethu's (Uncle, father's elder brother) eyes as he sang "SOKOL DESHER RANI SE JE AMAR JONMOBHUMI" (a song written by D L Roy meaning "my Motherland, She is the queen of all countries"), had I not watched The Kashmir Files. While I sang the same song with much passion and contentment, his expressions exuded immense pain. After all these years, Pushkar Nath transmitted my Jethu's pain into my soul. My octogenarian Dadu (grandfather), ever referred to our house built in 1968 in West Bengal as 'their house' (their = his sons) even though some of his own funds came useful in its construction.
The then child in me in the early nineteen eighties received only mute silence in reply to her question— "Why theirs? Not yours?" The little girl didn't know nothing more eloquent could ever be than complete silence. The Kashmir Files, after 35 years, unmuted my grandfather's silence. "tuta hua log batata nahi", said Brahmadutt adding, "aur koi sunne ki koshish bhi toh nahi ki". The civil society hardly realized they put civility down by remaining silent about Kashmiri Pandits' Exodus. Brahmadutt was played by Mithun Chakraborty, another Hindu Bengali from East Pakistan who had to come and resettle in Kolkata.
The Kashmir Files would relate to all persecuted people all over. Pushkar Nath's neighbour in the Jammu refugee camp was humming a poignant tune. "o my dear house, I can sacrifice all for you"— she continued to sing and breathed her last, leaving viewers in a pool of tears. The scene reminded me of an incident in 2005 when I eventually met in South Kolkata, a very old lady suffering from Alzheimer's Disease who too came to West Bengal as a refugee from East Pakistan.
Coming to know about my background of being from a refugee family too, she repeatedly and monotonically murmured a few sentences—"My in-laws' house in Pabna (now in Bangladesh) was huge, Thakur (father-in-law) was a lawyer of fame, and there stood a pomegranate tree just beside the huge main gate of our campus". The Alzheimer's patient could not forget the pomegranate tree.
After Syama Prasad Mookerjee entered Kashmir without a permit in 1953 to reinforce that Kashmir ever was and would remain an integral part of India, people who didn't like his courage did everything that yielded to put an end to his life. In 1990, the same evil force with the same intent to deny Kashmir as part of India worked to cause an exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. It appears a tenable hypothesis to presume that Mufti Mohammad Sayeed of Kashmir was deliberately chosen as Minister, Home Affairs in V P Singh Government, 1989 with the very intent of conducting such a crime against humanity.
The prime reason furnished by the media behind the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits was exactly the same as the one shown by Amartya Sen behind the exodus of Hindu Bengalis from East Pakistan. Amartya Sen's family permanently shifted from Dhaka to Shantiniketan in 1945. It was the very next year when Undivided Bengal saw the first genocide of Hindu Bengalis at Kolkata in August. While Amartya Sen fondly remembered growing up in Dhaka & Shantiniketan, he maintained a deafening silence regarding why his paternal house at Dhaka became permanently inaccessible. Sen pretended to take a scholarly stance to explain the rationale of forceful capture of Hindus' properties accompanied by Hindu Genocide by Islamists in East Pakistan, aka Bangladesh. He described the catabolic act as 'Land Reform'. Muslims were poor & properties of East Pakistan vested predominantly upon Hindus, and Islamists were left with no option but to capture them by force—justified Sen. Amartya Sen presented no other scholarly logic but Land Reform to explain Islamic Terror. However, by leftists' definition, Land Reform necessitates the application of force. From this axiom of perception, slaughtering & driving Kashmiri Pandits out of Kashmir were also Land Reform.
People like Radhika Menon and Amartya Sen became the secessionists' intellectual brand ambassadors. The Kashmir Files opened Pandora's Box as it exposed the intricacies of Islamic Jihad being plain political aggression in the name of religion to capture land, properties and women of non-Muslim communities. The Kashmir Files have demonstrated the necessity for human civilization to re-evaluate the sustainability of such acts in the name of religion.