Vivek Agnihotri had been working on ‘The Kashmir Archives’ for four years. He and his wife and actress Pallavi Joshi used his money for his passion project. He has mortgaged his house. He went to many parts of the world to investigate. Even after spending so much, he didn’t know what he would get out of it.
Says Vivek: “We never thought The Kashmir Files would have such an impact. One day I was thinking about the three pillars of democracy: truth, justice and life. The ‘Tashkent Files’ dealt with the right to the truth. ‘The Kashmir Files’ is about the right to justice. ‘The Delhi Files’ will be on Right to Life. The fourth pillar of democracy is the audience. Let them decide what they want to see. The public will not applaud for nonsense.”
For Vivek, cinema is not about networking and socializing. They don’t have parties. They don’t drink alcohol. The Kashmir Files started with just 600 screens. Then all of a sudden it became a core B&C movie as well. Vivek has moved away from Bollywood. He said: “They wanted me to do the typical potboiler that we weren’t ready to do. We decided that we will make films based on our own research with our own money. This was our decision in 2010. Then we did Buddha in the Traffic Jam, The Tashkent Files and The Kashmir Files.
On the allegations that ‘The Kashmir Files’ is Islamophobic, Vivek said: “I think my audience is smart enough to know that the villain of ‘The Kashmir Files’ is terrorism. There is a line in my film where a character He says that apart from Hindus, Muslims and other communities are also victims of terrorism. What matters to me is that the film reached out and touched hearts.”
Vivek feels that Bollywood cinema is not made for him. He said: “I quit Bollywood in 2010. We are a very small boutique film production house. We make movies with passion. I’m happy that I don’t have friends in Bollywood. If you did, somewhere you would be tempted to please them by doing what they want you to do. At this time, when I talk to you, I can earn a lot of money and go home happy. But I can’t do that. It’s not in my DNA.