Sujoy Ghosh Bids Goodbye to IFFI but Why?
RTIwala Trending: Filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh has been acclaimed for his excellent movies and thinking out of the box. He has shown his capabilities as a tremendous filmmaker by outdoing himself with his films. He is the jury Chairman of the 48th International Film Festival of India 2017 (IFFI)’s Indian Panorama section. Unfortunately, he has resigned. He has resigned in protest after two films were dropped from the showcase line up. The festival is set to begin on November 20.
Malayalam filmmaker Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s S Durga and Ravi Jadhav’s Marathi film Nude were rejected by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. These movies had been selected by the jury constituted as per Indian Panorama regulations. Filmmaker Sasidharan is set to move the Kerala High Court and put in his plea. He will be filing a writ petition in the Kerala High Court in protest of the non-inclusion. The ministry is yet to come out with a statement specifying the reasons for the non-inclusion. There have been requests from a number of quarters but the ministry doesn’t seem to give a look.
The Future of the Movie Land
The list of selected films was submitted to the ministry by the jury on October 13. However, the ministry announced the final list on November 9. Such melodrama created by the ministry left the two filmmakers with very little time for seeking avenues of redressal. The redressal was important in as a way in the run-up to the festival.
Many members of the jury have expressed disappointment with the manner in which their decision was overruled. As per clause 8.5 of the Indian Panorama Regulations, the decision of the Indian panorama Section is deemed final and binding. Overruling by the Ministry is deemed to be illegal. Sasidharan called the ministry decision arbitrary, against all rules and norms. “The decision of the jury, appointed by the ministry itself, is final. How can they quash it?” asked the filmmaker.
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Earlier, the ministry had objected to Sasidharan’s film and its original title, Sexy Durga. It even denied it the censor exemption and approval for screening at the MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival 2017. The film eventually played at the festival after the film was given U/A certificate by Central Board for Film Certification. The CBFC suggested a change of title and deletion of some words in some scenes. The title was amended to S Durga. There were no cuts in scenes and visuals and the duration of the movie remained intact.
The various recognitions
The film has garnered several international awards and recognition:
- Hivos Tiger award for best feature film in International Film Festival of Rotterdam, Netherlands;
- Golden Apricot for best feature film in Yerevan, Armenia;
- best international feature in Guanajuato, Mexico;
- best feature film in Geneva International Film Festival;
- Asia Pacific Screen Awards nomination for best director;
- young jury award for best film in Pesaro International Film Festival, Italy;
- special jury award for music & direction in Cinema Jove, Valencia, Spain;
- jury award for best cinematography, Zerkalo, Tarkovsky Film Festival, Russia and
- special jury mention at the MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival 2017.
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Such films ought to be respected. They garner a name for the country on the international front. We tend to give in such capturing of freedom of expression. This is a serious matter of concern. Don’t we need to see where is this going? What is the future of the film community in the upcoming days? It all seems to be gloomy at this point in time. Sasidharan hopes the ministry step does not set an example.
“This way there won’t be any need for the jury, the ministry will take the decision itself,” he said. What upset him most was the fear in the filmmaking commune. “Such an incident would have otherwise created a huge hue and cry in Kerala. The silence now is dreadful,” he said.
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