Vivek Agnihotri’s film The Kashmir Files courts controversy, again

Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files has been banned in Singapore by the country’s InfoComm Media Development Authority on the grounds that it could disturb religious harmony. According to Variety, the film, backed by ZEE5, revolves around a university student who learns about the religiously charged political turmoil that led to the death of his parents in Kashmir in the 1990s.

The IMDA said that it had consulted with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and the Ministry of Home Affairs, and that they together found the film to have “exceeded the Film Classification Guidelines for its provocative and one-sided portrayal of Muslims and the depictions of Hindus being persecuted in the ongoing conflict in Kashmir”, as per reports. “These representations have the potential to cause enmity between different communities and disrupt social cohesion and religious harmony in Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society.”

According to the publication, under the Film Classification guidelines, “any material that is denigrating to racial or religious communities in Singapore” will be refused classification. The film, made on a budget of $2 million, was released in cinemas in India and many international territories in mid-March and has grossed about $43 million to date. It forms part of a large film release slate by ZEE5, the multilingual streaming arm of the Zee broadcast group.

The Kashmir Files was briefly banned in the United Arab Emirates. But the UAE authorities reversed their ban at the end of March and the film was released without cuts from April 7. New Zealand had to raise the film’s rating from Rs 16 to Rs 18 after concerns were raised by the Muslim community.

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