Jury chief quits; min­istry had said ‘S Durga’ hurt sen­ti­ments

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY - Swati.Mathur@ times­group.com

New Delhi: Trig­ger­ing a con­tro­versy days be­fore the 48th edi­tion of the International Film Fes­ti­val of In­dia opens to the pub­lic, film­maker and jury chair­man of IFFI, Su­joy Ghosh, ten­dered his res­ig­na­tion. It was seen as a mark of protest and comes close on the heels of the min­istry of in­for­ma­tion and broad­cast­ing drop­ping two films, ‘Nude’ and ‘S Durga’, from the In­dian Panorama section of the fes­ti­val that be­gins on November 20.

Malay­alam film­maker Sanal Kumar Sasid­ha­ran’s ‘S Durga’ and Ravi Jad­hav’s Marathi film ‘Nude’ were turned down by the min­istry af­ter be­ing se­lected by the IFFI jury. On the one hand, while Sasid­ha­ran moved Ker­ala HC against non-in­clu­sion of his film, sources in the gov­ern­ment said it was cus­tom­ary for any un­cen­sored film sched­uled to be screened at the fes­ti­val to seek an ex­emp­tion cer­tifi­cate from the min­istry. In the case of ‘Sexy Durga’, whose ti­tle the film­maker later changed to ‘S Durga’, gov­ern­ment sources said per­mis­sion had al­ready been de­nied at the Mum­bai As­so­ci­a­tion for Mov­ing Images (MAMI) in Oc­to­ber. The film was even­tu­ally played at the fes­ti­val af­ter be­ing given a U/A cer­tifi­cate by the CBFC, which sug­gested a change in the ti­tle to ‘S Durga’ and the dele­tion of “vul­gar” words from the film.

Sources said the min­istry had of­fi­cially com­mu­ni­cated its de­ci­sion, in writ­ing, to deny per­mis­sion to ‘S Durga’ on Septem­ber 19, 2017. The let­ter said, “Min­istry has been re­ceiv­ing sev­eral griev­ances against the ti­tle and is of the view that it may af­fect the law and or­der as it hurts re­li­gious sen­ti­ments, Durga be­ing a prin­ci­pal Hindu God­dess and the ap­pli­cant may seek cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of film in nor­mal course from CBFC.”

Min­istry sources also said that while the IFFI di­rec­tor had sub­mit­ted ‘S Durga’ in the fea­ture and non-fea­ture films cat­e­gories re­spec­tively, it had been con­veyed to the fes­ti­val di­rec­tor that both ‘Nude’ and ‘S Durga’ should be re­placed with two other films. Jad­hav’s ‘Nude,’ of­fi­cial sources said, was re­jected be­cause cer­tain post­pro­duc­tion work on the film re­mained to be com­pleted, and be­cause the film was found to be “not tech­ni­cally com­plete.”

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