Screen ‘S Durga’ at IFFI, Kerala High Court orders I&B Ministry

The directive followed a writ petition filed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, maker of the film.

November 21, 2017 04:46 pm | Updated December 01, 2021 06:45 am IST - Kochi

 A poster of the film ‘S Durga’ with the uncertified title.

A poster of the film ‘S Durga’ with the uncertified title.

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Directorate of Film festivals to screen the certified version of S Durga   in the ongoing 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa. The court passed the directive while allowing a writ petition filed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, maker of the film.

 

He contended that despite the selection of his film by the jury constituted as per Indian Panorama Regulations, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry refused to include it in the festival. In fact, the Ministry took the decision without issuing any notice to him and without giving any reason. He pointed out that the film had received several accolades from film critics and artists and won many international awards such as the Hivos Tiger Award 2017.

It was screened in several international film festivals, including the festival of Rotterdam and Golden Apricot Yeravan Film Festival held in Armenia.

Resignation of Sujoy Ghosh

He pointed out that Chairman of the jury Sujoy Ghosh has resigned as the jury head, reportedly in protest against the Ministry's arbitrary exclusion of his movie, overruling the jury's decision.

The Ministry submitted that Mr. Sasidharan wanted to screen the uncertified version with the title, Sexy Durga , instead of the certified S Durga. It further argued that as per Clause 12 of the Indian Panorama 2017 Regulations, if any dispute or difference arose between the producer and the directorate, the same shall be referred to the Secretary, I&B Ministry, whose decision in the matter shall be final and binding on both the directorate and the applicant for Indian Panorama.

 

As the film was certified as S Durga , it could not be screened in its original form as it would violate the provisions of the Cinematograph Act. Besides, the list of films in the Indian Panorama had been finalised by a jury, said the Ministry.

Sasidharan says it's a 'victory for cinema'

According to an overjoyed Sasidharan, the DCP of the censored version of the film is ready with the producer to be hand-delivered to IFFI. “It’s not my victory or the victory of  S Durga  but in these dark times it’s a victory for cinema, for freedom of speech and for democracy,” Sasidharan told  The Hindu.

“Time will only tell the significance of this decision,” he added, while acknowledging and appreciating the efforts of the jury members who decided to stand by him. He is currently in Brisbane for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards where he has been nominated for achievement in directing along with the likes of Andrey Zvyagintsev ( Loveless),  Hirokazu Kore-eda ( The Third Murder ), Ana Urushadze ( Scary Mother ) and Mouly Surya ( Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts ).

Meanwhile, the Festival Director, Sunit Tandon, was also contacted on the court verdict. His response is awaited.

(With inputs from Namrata Joshi)

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