The infamous flight of Kashmiri Pandits that began in 1989 is the basis for The Kashmir Files. The Vivek Agnihotri-directed movie presents an argument put up by Kashmiri Pandits. The movie has two competing narratives at play, but its creators favour just one. However, they have been gracious in their attitude to at least give the alternative narrative, even if it is a contaminated one, some representation.
The movie has reignited an old argument. Who was to blame for the predicament of Kashmiri Pandits and all of the other caste members who were forcibly expelled from Kashmir? What did they do wrong? Why were unarmed people killed? Why were human rights so flagrantly violated? Most importantly, why was it never given the media attention it merited? Not just those who picked up weapons, but also others who remained silent, propagated rumours, and—most importantly—those who took advantage of the circumstance to further their own personal grudges, are to responsible.
To appreciate the situation of individuals who lost their homes and have been living as migrants in their own country, we as a nation must put aside stereotypes and stop the never-ending blame game. The common man frequently suffers the most in the conflict of ideologies. The Kashmir Files accurately discusses the social order of this bureaucratic food chain. The folks at the bottom of the food chain receive collateral damage in the battle to obtain political clout. Let’s attempt to comprehend the story and point of view that the creators have presented.
The Kashmir Files Plot Summary
It was a dismal January 19th, 1990 evening. In Kashmir, there was social and political upheaval. Ralive, Tsalive, and Galive, slogans of a convert, run or die, reverberated throughout the valley. It was a time of instability and terror in paradise on earth. A few months ago, Tikalal Taploo, a leader and Kashmiri pandit, was one of the well-known figures to pass away. Community hate had spread throughout the entire valley and had split the population.
The family of Pushkar Nath Pandit (Anupam Kher) was also caught up in the confusion. Shiva, his grandson, was still out with his pal Abdul. Pushkar Nath, who is shaky, picks up both kids and drives them home. Farooq Ahmad Dar, also known as Bitta Karate, the area leader of the JKLF (Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front), had forced his way into their house. He was looking for Puskar’s son, who was the target of a fatwa accusing him of being an Indian government informant. Farooq Ahmad Dar viciously murdered Pushkar’s son before abandoning the other members of the family in order to disseminate word of the tragedy throughout all of India.
Thirty years later, in The Kashmir Files, we find Pushkar Nath Pandit’s four friends waiting for his grandchild to arrive. As Dr. Mahesh Kumar, DGP Hari Narian, Vishnu Ram, Brahma Dutt, and their wife Laxmi waited patiently, it was resolved that no one would discuss the exodus in front of the young boy who was visiting Kashmir for the first time since his family left in 1990.
Krishna Pandit, the grandson of Pushkar Nath Pandit, is a student at JNU and is vying to be the institution’s president. We see him surrounded by those who favour declaring Kashmir a free state. They claimed that the Indian government was oppressing the Kashmiri people and, more crucially, that it was destroying the prospects for the region’s young people. It was made quite obvious in the language that the Indian government had given the Kashmiri youth no choice but to throw stones. Krishna’s instructor Radhika Menon advocated strongly for this cause. She steers him and advises him that he needed to sell an exaggerated narrative.
Krishna is unsure on which account to accept. He sees his grandfather, who was fighting and protesting against the special status that J & K had under Article 370 of the J & K Constitution. Pushkar Pandit desired to return to his residence. He asserts that pursuing your dreams will make them come true. However, his pursuit comes to an end, and he is unable to realise his wish to return to his house. As a parting gift, he instructs his grandson to meet his four dear friends, with whom he shared many happy moments, and to disperse his ashes in his house in Kashmir.
Warning: Major Spoilers
The Kashmir Files Ending Explained Which Truth Did Krishna Pandit Believe In?
Pushkar Pandit had consistently informed his grandson that his parents and his older brother, Shiva, perished in a collision. He was unaware that the terrorist JKLF had ruthlessly murdered them. His train of thinking only gets more muddled when he listens to his grandfather’s pals. He had always thought that the Indian government had staged the migration of Kashmiri Pandits. He believed that the truth was always disguising itself. His professor Radhika Menon had advised him to meet someone in the valley in order to get perspective and comprehend the actual hardship of the Kashmiri people. Farooq Ahmad Dar, who had killed his parents, was the real culprit. The terrorist leader claims to represent love and peace and informs Krishna that it was the Indian Army, not the JKLF members, who slaughtered his family.
Krishna returns and accuses Brahma Dutt of duping him into thinking something that was utterly fabricated and utterly untrue. When Brahma Dutt sees his friend’s grandson believing someone was to blame for the murders of innocent Kashmiri Pandits and even his own family, he loses his composure. He describes in detail to Krishna what he saw during those turbulent times. Krishna gains complete knowledge of everything. He is aware of the agony the community through as well as the sacrifice made by his family. He is aware of how his mother consumed the blood-soaked rice and how his grandfather gave up his health to pay for his grandson’s education.
He returns to JNU and speaks there. But this time, neither what he had read nor what Radhika Menon had told him. He expresses himself honestly. He talks about what he noticed and felt. There was no room for guessing because he hailed from a family that had witnessed the atrocities firsthand. Krishna Pandit created his own story this time around, uninformed by hearsay or historically incorrect interpretations. Although words may be deceiving, the eyes never lie, and he had seen the suffering in those eyes.
The video also included a recreation of the infamous Nadimarg incident, in which 24 Kashmiri Pandits were fatally shot. It was horrible to witness such a terrifying thing on film, much less go through it firsthand. Saying that we comprehend the situation would be incorrect because we cannot. The only people who can genuinely comprehend how it would have felt are those who endured and/or lost everything in this pointless conflict.
Although the movie is based on actual events, some of the facts and events have been dramatised and changed.
The Kashmir Files, which clocks in at around 170 minutes, could have been a little shorter. An highly powerful cast and dialogue that elicits the desired intensity are required for a movie that deals with such a significant issue. The performers enhance the story, but the dialogue lacks the necessary punch and flare. Anupam Kher’s portrayal of Pushkar Nath Pandit dominates the show. The movie tackles a contentious subject, but in my view we should put politics aside and attempt to understand a community that has gone through a lot.
Vivek Agnihotri is the director of the 2022 Indian political drama film The Kashmir Files.