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Vivek Agnihotri, Pallavi Joshi Reveal How ‘The Kashmir Files’ Has Changed Them

Vivek Agnihotri and Pallavi Joshi share how the box-office success of 'The Kashmir Files' has changed their lives.

The latest Hindi film ‘The Kashmir Files’ is gruesome, horrifying and uncomfortable. On top of it, the film is an honest attempt to narrate an untold historic event and to empower the suppressed community of Kashmiri Hindus for the last three decades.

‘The Kashmir Files’ has been a game-changer. It has changed the art of filmmaking, the attitude of audience and the thought process of people at large. The film has also changed the lives of those who worked on the film. Apart from fame and recognition after the massive box-office success, the film has changed their personalities forever.

In an exclusive interview with Lehren, Pallavi Joshi, co-producer of TKF and who plays Radhika Menon in the film, shared how her life has changed now. She said, “I don’t think we are the same people anymore. Especially because of the stories that we heard. The victims, their families. I feel now that I was sitting in this beautiful cocoon without knowing anything. I was so happy that I thought that the world is a paradise. And then we started hearing these horrible stories and the terrible things that people have gone through. They didn’t get closure because most of them couldn’t even find the dead bodies. No photographs, no memories, everything got left behind. They were people like you and me. They were all well-settled people. And suddenly everything was just over and they had to come and live in a tent where there were no bathroom facilities. It was all out in the open. I wonder how women went to use the toilet or how they took a bath. It was just so filthy and dirty. So many people died in the aftermath of genocide due to these conditions.”

Pallavi added, “I suddenly started feeling that I live a very privileged life. Everything that Vivek said about minimising your needs, I think, it’s only after this that it started growing more and more on us. And I made sure that my children understood this and I kept telling them that everything was over for them in one night and then they rebuilt their lives. And look at them today. They are placed in the highest of positions without picking up the gun, without resorting to violence. I think that has completely changed us and our point of view. It has burst that bubble. And we have realised that this is not such a good place to be. Here, we take pets at home. We give them the best of love. But look what we are doing to our fellow human beings. And we are capable of that. We are capable of extreme cruelty in sanity. I took a breather and realised that humans are not that good. There is a lot of evil in us. And the sooner we realise that, the better. I think that has changed for us.”

When Vivek Agnihotri was asked how the success of ‘The Kashmir Files’ has changed his life professionally, he said, “We define success wrongly. We always define in terms of perishable things. We think buying a car or earning so and so money makes us successful. I don’t define success like that. Success is when you change attitudes. Gandhi was successful because he changed attitudes. So did BR Ambedkar and Swami Vivekananda. In fact, I would give a lot of credit to Raju Hirani also. With 3 Idiots, he changed the attitudes of parents. They started looking at their children’s ambitions with empathy. Like okay, you don’t want to become an engineer, let me reconsider it. Lots of films change attitudes, you know. So, with my film, it is too early to say if the attitudes have changed or not. If, after some time, we realise that attitudes have changed and people are looking at the persecuted people with compassion and empathy and they want to give them a hand of support or help, then I think it would be a real success. For me, success won’t arrive until that happens. If you are talking about money, I don’t need it. So, for me, it is not success.”

Pallavi added, “We just need money for our next film. We won’t have to go door to door.”

Vivek then concluded, “It has empowered me because now I can invest in talented people to help them make the kind of movies which I was denied to make. What they too away from me, I hope I will be able to give it to the younger generation.”

Vivek Agnihotri and Pallavi Joshi have been married for 25 years. While Vivek directed ‘The Kashmir Files’, Pallavi stepped up as co-producer. She also played the pivotal role of Radhika Menon in the film.

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