How director Agnihotri crowd-sources his films

How director Agnihotri crowd-sources his films

Vivek Agnihotri, in a chat with Showtime, said he and wife Pallavi Joshi have been travelling around the world speaking to the Kashmiri Pandit diaspora.

The director, most recently known for the sleeper hit ‘Tashkent Files’, is currently researching for his film ‘Kashmir Files’.

A fan of the ruling dispensation at the Centre, Agnihotri does not deny any bias, and talks about the prejudices of those on the political Left. He adds that his intention is to talk about “the greatness of the Hindu civilisation”.

Talking about his upcoming film, he says, “The film is actually secondary, it is a byproduct of what we are doing. What we have been doing is what the Government of India should have done in the past 30 years, which is form a tribunal and record the stories of all the victims.”

“I am not saying, go ask the views of a 17-year-old Kashmiri Pandit boy and see if he has a view on it — but those of somebody whose father was cut into 50 pieces and the family is alive. Or someone whose mother’s breasts were cut on a saw machine and who are alive. The government of India should have recorded this,” he adds.

The material for Agnihotri’s last couple of films came through what he calls “crowd-sourcing”, wherein he sends out a message asking for information on a subject from people. 

When asked how he vets the many voices, he says, “I trust the tears of a girl whose father was cut into 50 pieces. I am a perceptive person, I am a director. And I understand which are genuine emotions and which are fake emotions. I am gifted with this. So, I trust this judgement, which is why I talk to people, listen to their stories. My films are based on that.”

When asked about how instinct can often be misleading, he says, “Say, somebody says their mother was gang-raped. In ‘gang-raped’, the word ‘gang’ can be misleading. Maybe somebody came, molested her and killed her. I am not bothered about whether it was gang-rape, mass murder or 50 pieces. But yes, somebody’s mother was killed. Somebody’s father was killed, whether he was cut into 50 pieces or five pieces — I am not getting into that debate, because when people are emotional, they can say things that are a little larger than life.”