Vivek Agnihotri’s ‘The Kashmir Files’ banned in Singapore

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Mumbai–Vivek Agnihotri’s blockbuster “The Kashmir Files” has been banned in Singapore by the country’s InfoComm Media Development Authority on the grounds that it could disrupt religious harmony.

According to ‘Variety’, the film, backed by ZEE5, revolves around a university student who learns of the religiously motivated political unrest that led to the death of his parents in Kashmir in the 1990s.

IMDA said it consulted with the Department for Culture, Community and Youth and the Home Office, and together they concluded the film had “exceeded film classification guidelines for its provocative and one-sided portrayal of Muslims and portrayals of persecuted Hindus in the ongoing Kashmir conflict, ‘Variety’ reports.

“These depictions have the potential to cause enmity between different communities and disrupt social cohesion and religious harmony in Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society.”

According to ‘Variety’, under film classification guidelines, “any material disparaging racial or religious communities in Singapore” will be denied classification.

The film, made on a budget of $2 million, was released in cinemas in India and many international territories in mid-March and has grossed some $43 million to date.

It’s part of a big list of movie releases detailed on Monday by ZEE5, the multilingual streaming arm of the Zee Broadcasting Group.

“The Kashmir Files” was briefly banned in the United Arab Emirates. But UAE authorities overturned their ban at the end of March and the film was released uncut from April 7. New Zealand had to raise the film’s rating from R16 to R18 after concerns were raised by the Muslim community.

Socially conservative Singapore censors films and TV shows due to depictions of drug use, possession and trafficking. The country does not recognize same-sex relationships and considers same-sex sexual activity illegal. It also represses activities that might disturb religious harmony.

With such an array of red lines, Singapore is the country that censors the Netflix streaming service the most. In 2020, Netflix said it only removed nine pieces of content globally in its (then) 23-year history. Five of the nine were removed at the request of the Singapore authorities. (IANS)