Overruling the recommendation of the 13-member jury, the Information and Broadcasting ministry pulled out Sasidharan's film "S Durga" and the Marathi movie "Nude" from the 48th edition of the film festival, to be held in Goa from November 20 to 28.
Apart from Ghosh and Asrani, the jury for feature films in the Panorama also includes director Rahul Rawail, actor-director Gopi Desai, filmmaker Nishikant Kamat, director-writer Nikkhil Advani and director-writer Ruchi Narain. "I wept when I saw it".
Nude is the film that tells the story of a nude model in one arts school. "Nobody informed me about the decision", Jadhav had told PTI. Kumar had renamed his much-acclaimed film as S Durga - the lead character is called Durga - after the censors objected to the original title, Sexy Durga.
"The title is now amended as "S Durga" and the film has been given a U/A certification by CBFC, implying that there is no objectionable content in the film". However, it had screened at the festival with a changed name.
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Tewari took to twitter said, "Preposterous - That I&B Ministry got two films dropped from IFFI 2017". The jury had earlier conveyed to the ministry that an explanation must be provided for every film removed.
It is not just Sujoy who has resigned in protest of this rash move by the I&B ministry. IFFI is a government film festival, Tikoo argued, adding that "only responsibility and accountability" were driving the committee that was managing the festival. It is heartening to find this support from others in the industry. "If they had any problem with the censorship of the film they should have asked me".
Rajesh Kumar Singh, a member of the preview committee that selects entries from the Indian Panorama section for the global competition at IFFI, took up the issue of the two films on Twitter. The jury at IFFI was so qualified that I was sure that this would be the flawless platform to launch the film. "Freedom is never absolute".
He said he is in shock and has not received any letter from the ministry about why "S Durga" did not make the cut. "If they override what jury does, their position becomes untenable". "It's wonderful that our country has opened its doors, with the International Film Festival of India, providing a platform to showcase some of the finest films from across the globe". One can now only wait and watch how the fallout will affect the festival.