Art & Entertainment

Pallavi Joshi: Threats Have Loomed Over Vivek Agnihotri And I For The Past Many Months

Pallavi Joshi opens up about ‘The Kashmir Files: Unreported’, the controversy around the first film, the issues of the Kashmiri Pandits, the threats to her and Vivek Agnihotri’s lives, their equation together on film sets and lots more.

Vivek Agnihotri And Pallavi Joshi

Pallavi Joshi and Vivek Agnihotri are back with an ‘Unreported’ version of their massively popular film ‘The Kashmir Files’. It releases on Zee5 today. The 2022 film went through a lot of controversies and criticism yet came out victorious at the box-office as audiences lapped onto the film. So much so, the film went on to become one of the highest-grossers of the last year. The film also did great business when it was released on OTT. Now, with the ‘Unreported’ version releasing, there’s a lot more expected from the project.

Talking to Prateek Sur, Pallavi Joshi opens up about ‘The Kashmir Files Unreported’, the controversy around the first film, the issues of the Kashmiri Pandits, the threats to her and Vivek’s lives, their equation together on film sets and lots more. Excerpts from the candid chat:

‘The Kashmir File’ was loved by many, but controversies also followed it. Now with ‘The Kashmir Files Unreported’, do you feel that there will be controversy again?

I don't know. I don't think about it. There may be.

How are you going to take it?

I’ll tell you, it doesn't matter because I know what we are doing. I know it’s all based on our research. It's the truth. It is what we have found out. It is what people have spoken to us directly about. In spite of that, if a lot of people are still going to find some political agenda in it, then let them do it. I cannot help it. As I always say, there are some people who run shops criticizing other people. So, if I’m helping them earn, then so be it.

‘The Kashmir Files’ was labelled as a propaganda film as you said. Some even called it a half-truth and full of distortions. What do you have to say about it?

I just have to tell them that on the 11th of August, a series called ‘Kashmir Files: Unreported’ is coming to Zee5. Watch it and decide for yourself whether it was propaganda, whether it was a half-truth, or whether Vivek and Pallavi have the ability to go to Kashmir and make 700 people lie.

The pain of Kashmiri Pandits has been shown to the world. Do you think they have actually gained?

All of us experience the cycle of nature: people who are born have to die, and all of us have lost someone near and dear. Every death is always painful, unfortunately. Sometimes, there are people known to us, as well as unknown individuals, who suffer tragic losses. For instance, their loved ones might die in accidents or be killed for nefarious reasons. These deaths are incredibly tragic. This is followed by a lengthy process of arrests and trials before the final verdict is given, which, of course, is unexpected and not something anyone invites. However, it happens; the law takes its own course. Here, there's an entire community that has been wronged, whose relatives have been brutally killed, and they don't even know who killed them. They remain unaware of the murderer's name. And it doesn't end there; there has been no fair investigation or justice. They've been out of their homes for the last 33 years, scattered all over the globe. Some are in Australia, some are in New Zealand—people who have managed to succeed in life. They left India and are in very good positions. Some of the biggest names in the world belong to the Kashmiri Pandit community. However, there are still people living in Jammu Camps. Now, imagine coming from a family, wherever it may be. Whether it's not in Bombay, wherever you are, your parents, siblings, or if you're married, your husband and children—all of you live in a home. There's a bank where you keep your money. You have your grocer, your vegetable vendor, your ironing person. You're familiar with all these people. And then, one fine day, someone comes to you and says you have to leave, or else you'll all be killed. They specifically mention someone from your family, like your father or your brother, and say that if you don't leave in the next 48 hours, you will find his body in your own house. What do you do in that case? You pack your bags and you leave, as if going for a short trip to another city, packing a suitcase. So many memories are left behind. The kitchens, the photos, the jewelry—all abandoned. Balances were left behind because of the curfew in the state. No banks were operational; everything they ever owned remained. And then, everything crumbles in an instant, like a house of cards collapsing. You find yourself moving from a beautiful, self-contained flat where you were doing well and had a promising future. Suddenly, you're living in a camp with 25 people, with no privacy—especially difficult for women when they have their periods or need to use the bathroom or take a bath without proper facilities. How do you cope with this? It's a deeply horrific story, not just about those whose relatives were killed, but also about others who are still living in camps. Look at the camps in Jammu now. In recent years, the government has at least provided concrete structures, three-story buildings, and such. However, they're still living in tiny apartments, nothing like what they had in Kashmir. They had orchards, a life there, and so many possessions—and all of it has been reduced to nothing. So, how does one handle this profound loss?

Do you have any fear, as there might also be a threat to you and Vivek’s life?

Threats have loomed over us for the past many months already. I don't think anything new will emerge, but even if it does, so what? If speaking the truth brings trouble, we're ready to face it.

Do you have differences of opinion even with Vivek? If yes, what kind of differences?

We have all sorts of differences. We're a couple, so like any other husband and wife, we argue, then reconcile after a while. It's normal. It could be as trivial as not picking up a cup of tea. Or it could be about scenes in the film. We're independent individuals with our own minds, so clashes happen, although not often.

Other than making these types of movies, what other genres of subjects would you and Vivek like to explore?

We follow one genre, the Indian genre. We want to tell stories about India—some painful, some full of pride, grief, happiness, ideas, or innovation. They need a connection with people in India. We believe we live in a glorious country, and anything that tarnishes our image should be addressed. We made 'The Kashmir Files' and now 'Kashmir Files Unreported' because there's a false narrative about India's role in Kashmir. Please watch the series on 11th August on Zee5 to know the truth.