The Kerala High Court has directed the organisers of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) to exhibit the Malayalam film, S Durga, in the Indian Panorama section of the Festival. The film, along with Ravi Jadhav’s Nude, was excluded from the IFFI line-up after the jury had cleared both films for inclusion in the programme.
The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry told the court that they had excluded S Durga on the grounds that it hurt public sentiments. They further contended that an uncensored version of the film had been selected for screening at IFFI, and not what had ben passed by the Central Board of Film Certification.
The Kerala High Court, however, overruled these arguments and ruled that the CFC-passed version of S Durga was eligible to be screened at IFFI.
S Durga director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan had moved the Kerala High Court on 15 November ,against the I&B ministry and officials of IFFI — the 48th edition of which is currently under way in Goa — for the “illegal, arbitrary and unjust exclusion” of his movie from the final selection.
“I have filed a writ petition before the Hon’ble High Court of Kerala against this unprecedented, illogical and unconstitutional action taken by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,” Sasidharan wrote in his Facebook page at the time. His film — earlier titled Sexy Durga — was one of the two projects that were among the jury recommended list for the Indian Panorama section of IFFI, but did not make it to the final list, approved by the ministry.
Sasidharan said the ministry “has not understood the context and setting of the film”. “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. Hence, there is no valid ground for excluding the film of the petitioner,” he wrote.
In protest against the exclusions of S Durga and Nude, filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh, who led the feature film jury, had resigned.
— With inputs from IANS