The screening of the hotly debated Bollywood film ‘The Kashmir Files’ has been postponed in New Zealand. The state censorship board, which had previously censored the film, decided to review its decision after it was approached by several community groups.
The country’s censorship board has granted ‘The Kashmir Files’ a certificate allowing individuals aged 16 and above to watch it. But the board of directors decided to review its decision and postponed the screening of the film.
The film, which focuses on the migration of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in the 1990s, has been shrouded in controversy since its release on March 11.
Reports said the censorship chief was reviewing the film’s classification after members of the Muslim community raised concerns over the film’s content.
Former New Zealand deputy prime minister Winston Peters has criticized the film board and said that censoring the film would be an attack on the freedom of New Zealanders.
“To censor this film is tantamount to censoring information or images from the March 15 atrocities in New Zealand, or in this case removing from public knowledge all images of the attacks on 9/11,” Mr Peters said in a Facebook post.
“Terrorism in all its forms, regardless of its source, must be exposed and opposed. This selective censorship attempt will be a further attack on the freedom of New Zealanders and people around the world,” he added.
Directed by Vivek Agnihotri, ‘The Kashmir Files’ stars Anupam Kher, Darshan Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty, and Pallavi Joshi among others.
With encouraging government support and tax breaks from several states across the country, the controversial film has been an unwelcome success. It also received scathing criticism as it was unprecedented for the government to put its interests behind a commercial film. Moreover, the politically sensitive nature of the film and allegations of inaccuracy/deliberate misrepresentation of facts have led to allegations of government involvement in propaganda.
Social media is flooded with videos from inside and outside cinemas where people can be seen using abusive slang for Muslims, with some using highly provocative language and provoking angry slogans.