While the filmmakers lashed out at the ministry for interference and the jury members expressed disappointment, with Sujoy Ghosh resigning as jury chairman, the I and B ministry has now hit back. "When Ministry tasked with defending freedom of speech and expression becomes it's slayer, it is time for the creative community to revolt against this crude censorship".
The national award-winning director also said that it is hard to accept that a selected film is removed from the festival without any explanation, "My film was chosen for this, you can't take away my right".
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Ghosh, who has directed films such as Kahaani and Ahalya, resigned after the information and broadcasting ministry overruled the jury's decision on featuring two films - Sanal Kumar Sasidharan's S Durga and Ravi Jadhav's Nude. Two days later, the chairperson of the jury, Sujoy Ghosh, resigned in protest. Meanwhile speaking to Mirror on condition of anonymity, a jury member said that till late on Tuesday, the ministry had not reacted to either Sujoy and Asrani's resignations. The ministry's role in the conduct of the IFFI certainly does not include deciding on the films to be screened.
Director Shyam Benegal, who earlier filed a petition to the I&B ministry to curb the Central Board of Film Certification's (CBFC) power to make cuts to films, says that a move like this is simply wrong. The jury at IFFI was so qualified that I was sure that this would be the ideal platform to launch the film.
Rajesh Kumar Singh, a member of the preview committee that selects entries from the Indian Panorama section for the global competition at IFFI, took up the issue of the two films on Twitter. Filmmaker Nikkhil Advani and another jury member when quizzed on the subject, told Mirror, "It's extremely sad that we were not informed about the exclusion of the films".
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"It's something we've never heard of", he said.
She said the jury included only those films it thought were worthy of cinematic contribution. He refuted it saying, "I sent a screener to the Directorate of the film festival three months ago and we were ready with a DCP of the complete film but no one asked for it. I am not making films for the Indian government".
"Sexy Durga", which will release in theatres as "S Durga", is a Malayalam film by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan.
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