IFFI jury chief Sujoy Ghosh resigns

Sanal Sasidharam

Sanal Sasidharam

According to sources, "S Durga" has been rejected by the Kerala government organised "International Film Festival of Kerala" too, and the filmmaker now is organising a parallel screening of his film.

Ghosh confirmed the news to Indian Express but refused to comment further on the issue.

48th International Film Festival of India is already courting controversy even before it has begun. The film had been cleared by the jury as had been another film, Nude, which did not meet with the approval of the I&B mandarins.

Scriptwriter Apurva Asrani, a jury member, has praised the films for presenting "a powerful & empathetic portrait of women in todays India". "I stand with the chairman of the jury". The film festival, that takes place in Goa every year, has been in the news for some of the films that the I&B Ministry has made a decision to drop from the final list of films that will be screened at the festival. "I respect the stand that Sujoy has taken but, more importantly, I am requesting the persons concerned to watch the films in contention and take an informed decision, preferably in consultation with the jury members".

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The film, a road movie that follows the horrifying experience of two hitchhikers, a man and a woman, at the hands of two men in the dead of the night, won the Hivos Tiger Award in the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2017. At that time, while MAMI sought exemption for the film, I and B ministry raised objection and said it "has been receiving several grievances against its title and is of the view that it may affect the law and order as it hurts the religious sentiments, "Durga" being a principle Hindu Goddess". It explores the life and conflicts of a nude model at an art school. "So, it's because of that that this move really stings", says the disappointed filmmaker. "I don't want to take away from the merit of the other films that we select and that are being shown".

With IFFI set to open on November 20, such sudden changes to the schedule are bound to make waves, especially since Sujoy had recommended Nude as the opening film. "An global film festival has nothing to do with Indian politics".

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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