"You Cannot Blackmail The Ministry," Says An Insider About Sujoy Ghosh Quitting The IFFI Jury

Swagata Dam , 15 Nov 2017
Sexy Durga
Sexy Durga

The 48th International Film Festival of India is kickstarting in Goa soon and we are super excited about it! While the coveted festival provides a great platform for filmmakers to showcase their work, there are two films which have unfortunately been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. Titled Nude and Sexy Durga, both films will no not be screened at the event and have thrown up some major controversy.

According to official sources, Nude was not eligible as an official entry as the film was technically incomplete. On the other hand, Sexy Durga was found to be culturally sensitive to certain religious sentiments. The film also faced issues at MAMI, where the Ministry  of Information and Broadcasting had received several grievances and as a result it has not been included in this year’s IFFI lineup as a safety precaution.

Sexy Durga has now been replaced by a children’s film in the same category, which is also an official jury selection.

IFFI steering committee member Vani Tripathi Tikoo has spoken in defense of the unanimous decision, stating,

All the films that are being screened at IFFI go through the Ministry. Approval has to be taken from the Ministry just like other festivals like MAMI and the Trivandrum Film Festival. The government has not done anything out of bound.

She further added,

Nude was an incomplete film and so it came with a rider… it came with a rider from the jury and it came with a rider to the Ministry and this rider was exercised as it was an incomplete film and an incomplete film cannot go into the public exhibition space for a festival. As far as Sexy Durga is concerned, it did not comply with the norms of the Censor Board of the CBFC and also faced issues with approval at MAMI. How can the Ministry be hypocritical and disapprove the screening of a film at one festival but screens it at its own festival? IFFI is a government festival and we have to respect the fact that the government has to be sensitive and look at the larger picture, as far as the exhibition of content and reaction level is concerned.

Filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh quit as IFFI Indian Panorama section jury chief after I&B Ministry dropped the mentioned films from their lineup. Writer Apurva Asrani also followed suit.

Sujoy Ghosh
Sujoy Ghosh

Addressing the issue of their drop out from the jury, Vani says,

I want to ask Mr Sujoy Ghosh that if he had such a big issue then why is he sitting outside the country mailing his resignation to the media? Why didn’t he pick up the phone on the ministry? I have been part of the Steering Committee for over the last 4 years and I can say this with confidence that the independence and the democracy of the festival has never got and will never get compromised.  At the end of the day its very simple… the government has used its discretion and it has used its absolute power to do so.

Our sources assert that the ministry is currently under pressure to accept the entries of Nude and Sexy Durga, with some characterising it as “blackmail.” We’ll just have to wait and see how things pan out.

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