Although The Kashmir Files is based on a true story, the creators definitely used artistic freedom to make it more “dramatic” for cinematic consumption.
The film is really long and slow, but what keeps the engagement going are the wonderful and moving performances of Anupam Kher and Darshan Kumar, who plays the elder’s grandson in the film.
First, although the film was supposed to document history, it tried to construct it. And, instead of highlighting the plight of Kashmiri Pandits, he further vilified Kashmiri Muslims.
Now, this may not harm the general public in Indian metropolises, but it is driving a wedge between Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits, who have tried to coexist peacefully despite attempts by vested interests to create hostility between the two communities.
Set in the 1990s, the film begins with a procession of Kashmiri Muslim children armed with guns, aged eight to 10. Although international and national media have extensively documented Kashmir, the recruitment of children this young into armed groups has never been established.
The youngest militant reported in the valley was Mudasir Parray, 15, killed in December 2018 in Srinagar. Apart from this, there have been no reports of mass recruitment of children as young as eight or nine in the history of the Kashmir conflict.
Second, throughout the film, contemporary slogans brought back from Kashmir after the 2010 shrine council unrest were shown as graffiti painted on Pandit houses in the 1990s. I am from a southern town of Kashmir which is home to hundreds of Pandit families who never left, including my guardian’s family. This literature was not painted by Kashmiri Muslims on any Pandit house here.