The 18 edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival started off on a controversial note here on Saturday when a group of demonstrators, protesting the exclusion of a film on Nandigram from the festival’s itinerary, tried to march to the venue where the inauguration ceremony was being held.

More than 10 protesters, including two women, were arrested by the city police. The protesters demanded that the film Nandigramer Chokher Paani (Tears of Nandigram) be screened at the festival.

The film based on a book, Chokher Paani, written by Manik Mandal, has been directed by Shyamal Karmakar.

Stating that he was in no way involved with the protests, Mr. Karmakar told The Hindu that he was not upset that the film was not selected as it had not been announced. However, he was not surprised that the film was rejected.

“Any government will have problems with the film because it is very neutral. It is both against the Communist Party of India [Marxist] and the Trinamool Congress,” he said.

The film chronicles the uprising in Nandigram and the atrocities which the people there had to face. Shot on location, several of the actors featured in the film are villagers of Nandigram who were involved in the movement, Mr. Karmakar said. The film has already been screened at the Mumbai Film Festival and the Indian Film Festival (IFF) in Berlin, he added.