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