‘S Durga’ could’ve hurt re­li­gious sen­ti­ments: Govt

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - @times­group.com

New Delhi: With a con­tro­versy brew­ing over IFFI jury chair Su­joy Ghosh quit­ting over the ex­clu­sion of films ‘Nude’ and ‘S Durga’, the gov­ern­ment said per­mis­sion had been de­nied for the screen­ing of ‘S Durga’ at the Mum­bai As­so­ci­a­tion for Mov­ing Images (MAMI) fest in Oc­to­ber.

Sources said on one hand, while ‘S Durga’ maker Sanal Ku­mar Sasid­ha­ran had moved the Ker­ala high court against non-in­clu­sion of his film in IFFI, it was cus­tom­ary for any un­cen­sored film sched­uled to be screened at the fes­ti­val to seek an ex­emp­tion cer­tifi­cate from the min­istry.

Film ‘Nude’, of­fi­cial sources said, was re­jected be­cause cer­tain post-pro­duc­tion work on the film was “not tech­ni­cally com­plete”.

Ghosh’s res­ig­na­tion is seen as a mark of protest and comes close on the heels of the I&B min­istry drop­ping ‘Nude’ and ‘S Durga’ (the orig­i­nal ti­tle was ‘Sexy Durga’) from the In­dian Panorama sec­tion of the fes­ti­val that be­gins in Goa on Novem­ber 20.

The two films were turned down by the min­istry af­ter be­ing se­lected by the IFFI jury. ‘S Durga’ was even­tu­ally played at MAMI fes­ti­val af­ter be­ing given a U/A cer­tifi­cate by CBFC, which sug­gested a change of ti­tle to ‘S Durga’ and the dele­tion of “vul­gar” words from the film.

Sources said the min­istry had com­mu­ni­cated its de­ci­sion in writ­ing to deny per­mis­sion to ‘S Durga’ on Septem­ber 19. 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 that ‘Nude’ and ‘S Durga’ should be re­placed with two other films.

Of­fi­cial sources also re­futed charges that the gov­ern­ment was be­ing se­lec­tive in its ap­proach to ap­prov­ing films. “The NDA gov­ern­ment was the one that amended the Panorama guide­lines to al­low un­cen­sored films to be screened at IFFI,” the source said.

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