The day after Mamata Banerjee banned ‘The Kerala Story’, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri sent her a legal notice on May 9 against her defamatory comments on his film ‘The Kashmir Files’.
The legal notice has been sent co-jointly by Agnihotri, his wife, Pallavi Joshi and the film’s producer Abhishek Agarwal. They have asked ‘unconditional apology’ from West Bengal’s Chief Minister for making defamatory comments on their movie ‘The Kashmir Files’.
The filmmaker posted the four-page-long legal notice on Twitter, “BREAKING: I have, alongwith Abhishek Aggarwal & Pallavi Joshi, sent a legal notice to the Chief Minister, Bengal Mamata Banerjee for her false & highly defamatory statements made with malafide intention to defame us & our films The Kashmir Files & upcoming 2024 film The Delhi Files”.
Through his advocate, Agnihotri has said that the CM called ‘The Kashmir Files’ “a conspiracy” and that it is mainly premeditated fiction. The notice states, “For the reasons best known to you alone, when the movie was released on 11-03-2022, you made statements before media, which was telecasted and broadcasted on several television channels and newspapers, wherein you called said movie a “conspiracy” and that it is mostly fiction and planned”.
It further states, “You had tweeted the same and also made statement on floor of the assembly without taking the name of the movie. You further stated that the movie is funded and created and that there is conspiracy to create unrest. You also urged the people not to watch the movie”.
The notice points out that the filmmaker suffered significant damage to his reputation and affected the business of the movie.
The notice adds how the director and his team were restrained from doing research work for his upcoming film ‘The Delhi Files. It states the filmmaker and his team were attacked, abused and threatened with FIRs by the party members of Trinamool Congress (TMC).
The notice mentions the cancellation of the book signing event of the filmmaker in Kolkata.
According to the notice, CM Banerjee hindered the making of The Delhi Files only to “gain easy popularity among the so called seculars in the country” and “to see that the Bengal genocide does not see the light of the day and to keep the public at large in dark on the said issue”.
While demanding an apology, the notice states, “It is required that either you substantiate the allegations made by you against my clients and their movie by producing authenticated proof or to withdraw your statements by addressing media in similar manner and tendering unconditional apology to them. You need to give equal amount of publicity for withdrawing the accusations made against my clients”.
‘The Kashmir Files’, stars Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty, Darshan Kumar, and Pallavi Joshi, tells the story of the genocide and the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits in 1990 in the Valley.
The movie faced a massive backlash from the Leftists and the Islamists. The vested interests did everything to ensure the film fails.
Background of the Controversy
This controversy erupted during a press briefing in the state secretariat in Kolkata on May 8, where the Chief Minister banned ‘The Kerala Files’.
Mamata Banerjee called both ‘The Kashmir Files’ and ‘The Kerala Story’ distorted films, “What is ‘The Kashmir Files’? It is to humiliate one section. What is ‘The Kerala Story’?… It is a distorted story. BJP is showing The Kerala Story, a distorted story. A few days back, some stars funded by BJP came to Bengal, and with some distorted and concocted story, they are preparing Bengal Files”.