Sanal Sasidharan, the director of the Malayalam film, ‘S Durga’ on Saturday evening submitted a censored copy of the film to Sunit Tandon, the director of the International Film Festival of India 2017, however, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has neither announced the screening date and time of the movie, nor contacted the jury members, three of whom are presently in Goa.
Earlier, Tandon had written a letter to Sasidharan asking him to provide the censored version of the film in 35 mm print along with two DVD copies to IFFI authorities, as also the censor certificate.
Speaking to the media, Sasidharan said that first he thought the problem was with the system, but eventually has understood that the problem was in the ego of the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. “I am not very much bothered about schedule for screening of the movie as much as whether the ministry will abide by the court order or not,” he added, observing that the authorities from the ministry are acting like they have declared war on him and treating his film as if it is hostile.
It may be recalled that ‘S Durga’ and a Marathi film, ‘Nude’, which were selected by the jury members for screening under the Indian Panorama section of the IFFI 2017, were dropped at the last minute by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting thus leading to big controversy. Sasidharan eventually approached the Kerala High Court against the decision of the central government.
Earlier this week, the Kerala High Court directed the IFFI organisers to screen the film, while on November 24, the court, despite a request from the Union Ministry for Information and Broadcasting, refused to stay its earlier order. This has now compelled the festival organisers to screen the film at the festival, which comes to a close on November 28.
In the appeal, the government had stated that the film, though selected by the jury, had not secured the exemption as required under the Panorama regulation in the absence of any certification from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). It was also contended by the Centre that the inclusion of the film is likely to upset the schedule of the film festival.
‘S Durga’ narrates the story of a horrifying experience of a hitchhiking couple.