The row over the exclusion of two films from the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa doesn’t seem to end. Six members of the Indian Panorama Jury for the film festival have written to Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani as per PTI. The jury voiced concerns regarding “the issue of the exclusion of Marathi film Nude, directed by Ravi Jadhav, and Malayalam film S Durga, directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan”, from the selection list. Both the films were dropped from the IFFI screening list last week.
The jury member requested Smriti Irani to start a conversation so that the films which continue to be a part of the Panorama are not forgotten amid the controversy, along with “S Durga” and “Nude” be given a “fair chance to be viewed in the light that jury has wished them to be”. Through the letter, the members expressed their distress over the removal of the two films “without any intimation, discussion or recourse to the jury which has the final say according to the Indian Panorama Regulations”. “All our written correspondence to DFF and NDFC in the matter went unheeded and there was no response or acknowledgement of the same,” the letter said. The letter has been signed by six members, namely, Satarupa Sanyal, Sachin Chatte, Suresh Heblikar, Hari Vishwanath, Ruchi Narain and Gopi Desai. The move resulted in the resignation of three jury members, including chairman Sujoy Ghosh. Last week, Sujoy Ghosh, who has directed the Bollywood hit Kahaani, has resigned from the jury panel at this IFFI. The director, however, has refused to comment on the issue. “The jury followed a method laid out by the Indian Panorama Regulations, and only wants the same to be applied when dismissing a unanimous decision that was arrived at with much deliberation,” the letter added.
Defending the two films, the letter read the movies in question are relevant in terms of a larger conversation on gender and women empowerment. According to sources, 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 said that “Nude” could not make the cut as the submission was “technically incomplete”.