After failing to screen his documentary in 2009, succumbing to the threats of agitation from the rightwing Hindu outfit, Hindu Janjagaran Samiti (HJS), the organisers of the Goa International Film Festival of India (IFFI) finally paid tribute to painter M.F. Husain by screening it posthumously here on Wednesday evening, amid tight security.

The screening had been postponed on Sunday after the organisers received fresh threats from the HJS. However, as the postponement attracted protests from creative people including some film actors, the organisers went ahead and screened the 18-minute documentary, Through the Eyes of a Painter.

There was an unprecedented police presence in and around the auditorium to prevent any trouble.

Film actor Prashanti Talpankar, who was among those who protested the postponement, expressed happiness that the IFFI organisers finally stood up to the rightwing group. “Everybody has a right to protest but nobody has the right in a democracy to stifle the freedom of expression of creative persons. I am happy that the organisers refused to succumb to the unreasonable threats and acted firmly to uphold the freedom of expression,” Ms. Talpankar told The Hindu.

Homage to Taylor

The IFFI also paid homage to Elizabeth Taylor. A legend, who drew audiences from all over the world, she was the most sought after star of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

The festival screened Butterfield 8, directed by Daniel Mann. Taylor won her first Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in this film.

“I am not for control or anything of media, nor do I even suggest media should be controlled. Media in this country is being simply unaccountable. You just question its conduct and it sparks a clamour of controlling the media. All I am suggesting is they should be ready to face questions,” said filmmaker Umesh Agarwal, during the course of a discussion following the screening of his film Brokering News.

The screening of the documentary on the controversial “paid news” issue produced by the Delhi-based filmmaker film was organised jointly by the Goa Union of Journalists (GUJ), the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), Prasar Bharati and the Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT).

Mr. Agarwal received overwhelming appreciation for the film dealing with the three aspects of ‘paid news,' namely political coverage of elections, movie reviews and news about business and industry.

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