Why I’m Crashing Screenings of “Kashmir Files” in California

As I bought a bottle of water from the concession stand in a Northern California theater on 19 March 2022, the staffer asked me, “What movie are you seeing?”

“‘Kashmir Files’,” I said. “Oh,” he responded. “It must be good. It’s almost sold out.” Indeed it was. Not good, rather, but sold out. Popularity, however, does not equal quality — nor morality.

The auditorium was packed when I entered. It was an exclusively Indian-American audience, there to watch the recently released (it hit screens in California on 18 March) blockbuster written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri. The audience no doubt knew that the film is divisive (I’d just attended a screening the night before and overheard an audience member talking about how there is “controversy” surrounding it), but the theater staff was apparently aware of nothing save that every seat of every showing was full.

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