» Movies » I&B ministry may regret nixing S Durga screening

I&B ministry may regret nixing S Durga screening

By PTI, Subhash K Jha
Last updated on: November 28, 2017 14:53 IST
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'If the executive is not obeying the judiciary, then it is a Constitutional issue.'

A scene from S Durga

S Durga Director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan on Tuesday said a majority of members of the Indian Panorama jury voted in favour of the Malayalam film being screened at the International Film Festival of India, which ends today, November 28.


The jury watched the censored version of the controversial film last night.

Sasidharan told Press Trust of India that seven jury members were ready for the screening, but four people on the panel, with three new additions, didn't give their approval.

"I got to know that seven of the members were in favour of the screening of S Durga, but three new members on the panel as well as one of the old members opposed the screening," Sanal said.

The three new members -- television journalist Sudhir Chaudhary, film-makers Satish Kaushik and Vivek Agnihotri -- were added to the jury after jury Chairman Sujoy Ghosh and members Apurva Asrani and Gyan Correa resigned in protest over the exclusion of S Durga and Nude from the festival.

Filmmaker Rahul Rawail was appointed the new chairman of the Indian Panorama section.

According to Sanal, if the film is not screened today, he may file a contempt of court case against the festival and the ministry.

"If the executive is not obeying the judiciary, then it is a Constitutional issue. I may file a contempt of court case," the director said.

After IFFI's Indian Panorama jury watched S Durga at 5.30 pm on Monday, Rawail said the I& B ministry would take a final call on the matter.

The jury submitted its report to the ministry, and a final decision on the film's screening was yet to be taken, Rawail said on Monday evening.

The developments have left Sasidharan disappointed.

Sasidharan, who had earlier moved the Kerala high court against the ministry's decision to drop the film, called the whole process a "dirty game".

Asked about the development, Sasidharan told PTI, "I have lost interest in this altogether. What has happened is very unfair. I don't want to indulge in all this anymore."

"It is not about my film anymore. It is about the system being ruined. Actually, it is the condition of all the citizens. It is ridiculous."

S Durga was dropped from IFFI's Panorama section along with the Marathi film Nude by the I&B ministry after which Sasidharan moved the Kerala high court.

On November 21, a day after the film festival commenced, the court ordered that the film be screened at IFFI. The ministry had tried to get a stay order on the decision, but was denied the same by a larger bench of the court.

'Not screening S Durga at IFFI will be contempt of court'

'My films may not be eligible for any recognition after this.'
'But for me, getting S Durga the respect it deserves is more important than anything else.'
Subhash K Jha reports.

It's do-or-die for S Durga director Sanal Sasidharan.

He is determined to make the organisers of the International Film Festival Of India comply with the Kerala high court's decision permitting the film to be screened at IFFI in Goa.


On Friday, November 24, IFFI Director Sunit Tandon asked Sanal to submit a 35 mm print of his film to the festival.

But Sanal is not convinced about the festival's intention of screening the film.

"Sunit Tandon had no choice but to respond after the Kerala high court instructed IFFI to show my film. But there is no real evidence of the film being slotted or screened at IFFI even as the festivities in Panaji continue," says Sanal.

"Precious days are being squandered as we wait for IFFI to follow court orders and screen my film," he adds.

"If IFFI is sitting around waiting for the festival to end without showing my film, then it would amount to contempt of court and I'll take legal action against the I&B ministry and the government accordingly,' the director warns.

Sanal is determined to see a closure his fight against his film's arbitrary exclusion from IFFI.

"I don't care what the repercussions will be," he says.

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PTI, Subhash K Jha