The International Film Festival Of India’s (IFFI) jury may be still reeling from the shock of two films, Sanal Sasidharan’s S Durga and Ravi Jadhav’s Nude, being dropped off without the jury members being informed. Following this, the jury chairman Sujoy Ghosh, Apurva Asrani and Gyan Correa resigned from the jury.
However, one jury member, film director Rahul Rawail told indianexpress.com that he was informed that Nude would not be the opening film.
He said, “I was not informed that both the films were dropped from the final list of feature films screening at IFFI. I was informed that Nude will not be the opening film, and was asked if I had any other film as the opening film. But there was no reason assigned to why Nude wouldn’t be the opening film, nor did they give a reason to why S Durga wouldn’t be screened either.”
When we asked Rahul Rawail further on why the jury was not consulted before dropping the films, the filmmaker maintained that he was informed of the changes in the opening film. He said, “Look, about not informing the jury about dropping the opening film, I think they should have informed the jury. For some reason, I was informed. I don’t know about the others, apparently, they were not informed.”
Rawail also suggested that the Information & Broadcasting Ministry can ‘override and reject any film’.
“As far as dropping of the two films go, the jury is working in the framework, and the ministry has the right to reject any film. They can override and reject any film. So, when we were asked to select, we were asked to select twenty films for screening, and two additional films in case of any replacements needed. So, we recommended twenty-two films and they dropped two films, and they replaced it with the replacements. So finally, the twenty films which will be screened are the films approved by the jury, and no film is outside the jury’s recommendation,” the director said.
Will the controversy and resignation of jury members affect the festival? To this, Rahul Rawail said, “I have no idea about why they resigned. Also, if their resignations affect the festival, I can’t comment on something I don’t know. As far as I go, I will be attending the festival.”