The Kashmir Files
The Kashmir Files is a 2022 Indian Hindi-language drama film about the exodus of Hindu people during the Kashmir Insurgency in 1990. It has been released in other countries with varying age restrictions.
Te Mana Whakaatu - Classification Office re-classified The Kashmir Files R18, up from its original R16 classification, following concerns raised by community groups. The Office consulted with community groups and other authorities in coming to its second classification decision.
The Classification Office is an independent Crown entity and media regulator operating at arm's length from central government.
We work to inform and empower New Zealanders to watch content in a positive way while safeguarding them from harm. We classify films, shows and other content and provide information about our work to the public.
Reclassification of The Kashmir Files
The Classification Office’s reclassification of The Kashmir Files to R18 followed an application under section 42 of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 from a community group. This part of the law allows the Chief Censor to reconsider a classification decision in certain circumstances.
The Chief Censor granted this application because there has been significant public interest in The Kashmir Files and some community groups had genuine concerns about the impact of this film on their communities, which were not heard during the initial classification process.
During this reconsideration process, The Kashmir Files could legally have been screened to audiences 16 years of age and older. The film’s distributor however agreed not to screen the film while the Chief Censor reconsidered his classification.
The Chief Censor spoke with a range of community representatives and also received views from a significant amount of correspondence received.
At the Classification Office we know that everyone has a line. What might seem like an easy watch for one person could be a very different experience for another.
We have given The Kashmir Files an R18 restriction. Initially an R16 classification was issued but this was reviewed by the Chief Censor. He described the film as a difficult ‘edge case’ between those two age restrictions but concluded that the nature and intensity of the violence and cruelty depicted warranted the higher restriction. It was also consistent with what the film received in Australia and India.
When a film gets an R18 rating, it means the Classification Office has determined that content in the film is likely to be harmful if shown to tamariki and rangatahi under the age of 18. R18 is a legal age restriction, not a recommendation of age suitability. Restrictions apply whether you are in a cinema or at home, and adults cannot give tamariki permission to watch restricted films or play restricted video games.
Some adults may also find the film is not for them, and we encourage people to read reviews and consider the warning note before watching.
Right to apply to the Film and Literature Board of Review
Anyone who thinks that The Kashmir Files should have a different classification has the right to apply to the Film and Literature Board of Review. The Board of Review is a body independent of the Classification Office which reviews the classification of films that the Office has recently classified.
Application forms are available from the Board at email@example.com. More information about the Board is available from this webpage. The Board can also be contacted at 04 495 7200.
Commentary and social media posts about the film may be challenging or upsetting for some. We understand that some of the more impactful clips of the film are being shared online and that this content can be presented in potentially harmful ways. We have some advice for parents to talk to young people about challenging content here.
Help is available:
- Negative or sensitive content can upset us. Free call or text 1737 for someone to talk to.
Here are some avenues for making a complaint:
- You can report content to social media platforms if you think it breaches their standards.
- Complaints can be made to Netsafe about harmful digital communications here.
- You can complain to the Department of Internal Affairs if you see objectionable material here.
- Contact Police.
- The Human Rights Commission may be able to help. Click here for more information.
Chief Censor reviewing classification for the Kashmir Files film