Kashmir Files film reclassified in New Zealand

indian movie The Kashmir Files has been reclassified and audiences aged 18 or over will be able to see it in cinemas next week, New Zealand chief censor David Shanks said today.

The Kashmir Files is a 2022 Indian Hindi drama film about the exodus of Hindus during the 1990 Kashmir uprising. It was released in a number of countries with varying age restrictions and it has been reported that it has been banned in some jurisdictions.

The film was originally rated R16 in New Zealand, but a review was conducted after concerns were raised by members of the New Zealand Indian community.

New Zealand Chief Censor David Shanks announced the change today after spending the week speaking to a range of community representatives, viewing the film and consulting classification offices overseas.

“Members of the Muslim community I have spoken to are genuinely concerned that the film will affect them negatively and Hindu representatives are convinced that the film shows an important part of their history,” said David Shanks.

“I have watched the film and am satisfied that it does not promote extremism or violence in a way that would require it to be classified as objectionable (banned) in New Zealand. However, I believe that an R18 restriction is warranted given the nature and intensity of the violence and cruelty depicted.This age restriction is consistent with what the film received in Australia and India.

“I know that this decision will disappoint some members of the Hindu community with whom I have spoken, who believe that the film has historical value and should be released without age restrictions. Similarly, some members of the Muslim community were d my opinion that the risk of harm it posed meant it should not be screened at all. I hear and understand both views.

“Community leaders I have spoken to about this have made it clear to me that they do not condone or condone expressions of hatred or oppression in their communities, and are prepared to play their part. role to make sure the film doesn’t cause that. I believe them, and I think there’s an opportunity here to build understanding and social cohesion, rather than erode it.

“My office will provide information detailing the reasons for the decision and the process for applying for review by the Film and Literature Review Board, as well as other information about the support and assistance available,” said David Shanks.

“Finally, I would like to note that it has been publicly suggested that my decision to review the classification of this film was in some way inappropriate or politically influenced. This is untrue. The independence of my office is absolutely essential to the accomplishment of our nurturing role, and I will always act to protect it.

“Another important aspect of our role is to be open to listening to members of our society who have real concerns about the potential harm of a film, and to seek to gain a broad and balanced perspective on what might be done to address these concerns. This is what my Office and I have sought to do in this case, and I greatly appreciate the willingness of the respective communities to speak with me and support this endeavour.

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