Af­ter IFFI row over film names, Su­joy Ghosh quits as jury chief

The Free Press Journal - - NATION -

Film­maker Su­joy Ghosh on Tues­day said he had re­signed as head of the jury of IFFI's In­dian Panorama sec­tion fol­low­ing the con­tro­versy over the re­moval of two films from the fi­nal se­lec­tion.

Over­rul­ing the rec­om­men­da­tion of the 13-mem­ber jury, the in­for­ma­tion and broad­cast­ing min­istry pulled out Malay­alam movie "S Durga" and Marathi film "Nude" from the 48th edi­tion of the film fes­ti­val, to be held in Goa from Novem­ber 20 to 28. Asked if he has re­signed as jury head in the wake of the con­tro­versy, Ghosh told PTI, "Yes, but I can’t say any­thing more than that right now."

Sev­eral jury mem­bers ex­pressed their dis­plea­sure over the min­istry's move to drop the films from the list they sub­mit­ted. The jury sub­mit­ted its list to the min­istry on Septem­ber 20-21, but the line-up was made pub­lic only re­cently and with­out the name of the two films. Ac­cord­ing to sources in the know, the min­istry ob­jected be­cause the film that was sup­posed to be screened at IFFI was "Sexy Durga" and not "S Durga", the ver­sion cleared by the cen­sor board.

The sources added that "Nude" could not make the cut as the sub­mis­sion was "tech­ni­cally in­com­plete". Film di­rec­tor Ruchi Narain, a mem­ber of the jury, said she re­spected Ghosh's de­ci­sion to resign.

"I was dis­mayed by the ex­clu­sion of two highly rec­om­mended films. It was dis­ap­point­ing that they were just taken off. We sat for three weeks and watched 153 films be­fore mak­ing the list," Narain told PTI.

She said the jury in­cluded only those films it thought were wor­thy of cin­e­matic con­tri­bu­tion.

"A film fes­ti­val au­di­ence has a cer­tain stan­dard and we kept that in mind," she said. Her col­league in the jury, ac­tor-film­maker Satarupa Sanyal, said the chair­man should have been in­formed about the de­ci­sion to drop the two films.

"Th­ese films were se­lected af­ter 21 days of de­lib­er­a­tions. I think there must be a pro­to­col to in­form the jury chair­man of the de­ci­sion. 'Nude' was a fan­tas­tic film and was liked by the jury unan­i­mously," Sanyal said. In a world class film fes­ti­val, she added, films with adult themes should be there.

It was an un­prece­dented move, a jury mem­ber said on the con­di­tion of anonymity.

"S Durga", which was ear­lier ti­tled "Sexy Durga", is a road movie that fol­lows the hor­ri­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of two hitch­hik­ers, a man and a woman, at the hands of two men. It won the Hivos Tiger Award in the In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val Rot­ter­dam 2017.

"Nude" de­picts the strug­gle of a woman se­cretly work­ing as a nude model in Mumbai. Both di­rec­tors told PTI they were shocked and dis­ap­pointed by the min­istry's de­ci­sion. "S Durga" di­rec­tor Sanal Ku­mar Sasid­ha­ran said he would ap­proach the court af­ter this "clever move" by the min­istry.

"They are sup­posed to pub­lish the list two-three weeks be­fore the fes­ti­val be­gins but they de­layed it on pur­pose," he said. "Nude" di­rec­tor Ravi Jad­hav was equally up­set.

"Give me some rea­son at least. It was se­lected as the open­ing film. It was a big hon­our. I am re­ally dis­ap­pointed and shocked to hear that it has been dropped," he said.

Asked if he has re­signed as jury head in the wake of the con­tro­versy, Ghosh said, "Yes, but I can’t say any­thing more than that right now."

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