The Kashmir Files lead actor Anupam Kher and director Vivek Agnihotri on Tuesday came down heavily on Shashi Tharoor after the Congress leader tweeted about the movie being banned in Singapore. Kher also cited Tharoor’s late wife Sunanda Pushkar’s Kashmiri origins in his response to Tharoor’s tweet and criticised him for feeling “victorious about a country banning” the movie, based on the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from the Valley during the 1990s. Soon after, Tharoor posted an official statement regarding his tweet without mentioning Agnihotri and Kher.
It all began when the MP from Thiruvananthapuram shared a news report on Twitter about the ban on the film in Singapore. “Film promoted by India’s ruling party, #KashmirFiles, banned in Singapore,” the Congress leader tweeted on Tuesday morning.
In his reply to Tharoor, Agnihotri dubbed Singapore the “most regressive censor in the world”. Agnihotri tweeted, “Hey Shashi Tharoor, is this true that Late Sunanda Pushkar was a Kashmiri Hindu? Is the enclosed SS true? If yes, then in Hindu tradition, to respect the dead, you must delete your tweet and apologise to her soul.”
Kher, in his tweet, said: “Dear Shashi Tharoor, your callousness towards Kashmiri Hindus genocide is tragic. If nothing else at least for Sunanda’s sake who was a Kashmiri herself you should show some sensitivity towards Kashmiri Pandits and not feel victorious about a country banning The Kashmir Files.”
However, the war of words did not end there as Tharoor posted a statement and, without naming Agnihotri and Kher, said he tweeted a “factual news item this morning, with no comment on its contents or on the film The Kashmir Files, which I have not seen.”
“At no point did I mock or disparage the sufferings of Kashmiri Pandits, of whose plight I am intimately aware, and to which I have repeatedly drawn attention over the years. Dragging my late wife Sunanda into this matter was unwarranted and contemptible. No one is more aware of her views than I am. I have accompanied her to the destroyed ruins of her ancestral home in Bomai, near Sopore, and joined her in conversations with her Kashmiri neighbours and friends, both Muslim and Hindu,” Tharoor said.
“One thing I know, unlike those attempting to exploit her when she is not around to speak for herself: She believed in reconciliation, not hate,” the Congress leader added.
The Kashmir Files, directed by Vivek Agnihotri, stars Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty, Darshan Kumar and Palavi Joshi in lead roles among others.