A police complaint has been registered against Vivek Agnihotri, director of The Kashmir Files, in Mumbai, after his controversial comment “Bhopali means homosexual” during an online media interaction.
Agnihotri’s comment, drew criticism from Rohit Pandey, a journalist and celebrity public relations manager hailing from Bhopal, who has currently filed an FIR for defamation and other charges, at the Versova police station in Mumbai.
Pandey claimed that Agnihotri has reportedly insulted and shown disrespect to his native place by “willingly, wantonly and maliciously calling Bhopalis as homosexuals” in a press interview.
A clip featuring the director’s remarks went viral, on Friday, ahead of his arrival at the city for a film festival.
“I have grown up in Bhopal, but I am not a ‘Bhopali’. The term ‘Bhopali’ has a different connotation to it, which I will explain to you privately. You can ask any Bhopali. If someone refers to one as Bhopali, it generally means they are homosexual, a person with Nawabi inclinations,” Agnihotri had told an online media channel.
Consequently, Agnihotri was trolled on social media and was called out by politicians and netizens, alike.
Congress leader Digvijay Singh wrote on Twitter, “Vivek Agnihotri ji, this might be your personal experience. This is not the experience of an ordinary Bhopal resident. I have been associated with Bhopal and Bhopalis since 1977, but my experience has not been so. The influence of company has an effect, wherever you may live.”
The Kashmir Files is a Hindi drama film that released on March 11 and is based on the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandit community from the Kashmir valley in the 1990s. It features an ensemble cast of actors Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty Darshan Kumaar, Pallavi Joshi, Prakash Belawadi, Puneet Issar, and Atul Srivastava, among others.
Moreover, the film has been heavily promoted by the ruling BJP government and has been declared tax-free in many states across the country. Being one of the highest-grossing Indian films during the pandemic, the film has collected over Rs 200 crores since two weeks of its release.