'After insulting us, Vishal Bhardwaj wants to show what a generous soul he is?'
'Mr Bhardwaj has made a one-sided, biased film and now he wants to show his generosity towards us. Sorry, we don’t need your pity.'
Anupam Kher lashes out at Haider director Vishal Bhardwaj.
Director Vishal Bhardwaj has dedicated his five National Award wins for Haider to the Kashmiri Pandit population that was evicted from the Valley.
Bhardwaj also added that Kashmiri Pandits, like Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Anupam Kher, should make films highlighting the plight of the community.
Reacting to it, Anupam Kher spoke out against Bhardwaj’s statement.
"How insensitive and patronising can you get, Mr Bhardwaj,” Anupam, who is currently in Mauritius, said. "Firstly, you make a pro-militant film showing the Indian Army as the villains in the Valley. Then you don’t care to represent the Kashmiri Pandits’ viewpoint anywhere in the film. I never held this against you. As a talented filmmaker, it’s your prerogative to project whatever perception suits your creativity. In fact, after I saw the film I never expressed my deep misgivings... until now. But after the awards, you’ve insulted my community.
"What does he mean by dedicating the trophies to us Kashmiri Pandits?" Kher asks. "After insulting us , Vishal Bhardwaj wants to show what a generous soul he is? He wants to tell me what I should do for my community? I don’t need anyone to tell me my duty. I did what was right towards my country. Even when I was thrown out of my own home and state with my family, I didn’t become a terrorist. I didn’t turn against my country. I remain a patriotic Indian in spite of being treated as an outsider in my own home.
"As for making a film to highlight the plight of my community, I don’t need advice on what to do. Mr Bhardwaj has made a one-sided, biased film and now he wants to show his generosity towards us. Sorry, we don’t need your pity. In spite of all the agony that we have gone through, Kashmiri Pandits have survived," he says.
Kher is deeply offended by the approach adopted by Haider to the Kashmiri Pandit community.
"Our viewpoint does not exist in the film. Instead, the film insults us by showing a devil’s dance in our sacred Martand temple in Kashmir. Does he know how hurtful this sort of violation of our sacred spaces is to our community? And then to dedicate awards to us when we don’t even exist in your creative point of view, reeks of hypocrisy."
Without commenting on the government honour, Kher says, “Vishal even has the gall to suggest that he is surprised the Indian government honoured him for Haider. What does he mean? That if he hadn’t got the National awards, he would have considered the Indian government unjust and non-liberal? Just as Vishal considers the Censor Board to be unfair to him?”
Kher is shocked by Bhardwaj’s dismissal of the Censor Board. “After Haider, with its blatantly one-sided view of militancy, harsh language and brutal violence was given a certificate, Vishal calls the Censor Board the Taliban? Bhardwaj’s films have always been treated liberally by the CBFC. He has no reason to complain.”
Ashoke Pandit, another Kashmiri Pandit from Bollywood, says, "You make an anti-army, pro-militancy film. You empathise with those who killed, raped, murdered Kashmiri Pandits. You sympathise with those who are responsible for the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Kashmiri Pandits. And then you want to dedicate the film to Kashmiri Pandits? It’s a joke. It’s either his guilt, which is forcing him to say this, or he is being sarcastic."