Within days of Information and Broadcasting’s sudden decision to drop two of the selected films – Marathi feature Nude and Malayalam drama S Durga – from the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), the resignations from the jury have begun. Adding to the misery of the organisers, the filmmakers, whose films are to be screened at the fest, have volunteered to protest against the centre’s decision.
On Tuesday, director Sujoy Ghosh, IFFI’s jury head, announced his resignation and just a few hours ago, another member, screenwriter Apurva Asrani also stepped down. Producer Nitin Vaidya, whose Marathi film Muramba has been selected in the Panaroma section at IFFI, has announced he and his team would protest at the festival itself.
Calling the government’s action “deplorable”, Vaidya, in a Facebook post, said that team Muramba will protest against the suppression of freedom of expression.
“I & B ministry’s decision to drop two films namely Nude by Ravi Jadhav and S Durga by Sasidharan from Indian Panorama at IFFI to be held at Goa is arbitrary, unfortunate and deplorable. Govt should immediately reverse this decision. These two movies were selected for the festival by the eminent jury. This is not done. Same jury selected my movie #Muramba for Indian Panorama.
“This is a clear case of suppression of freedom of expression and also disrespect to the creativity that is flourishing in regional cinema despite challenges it is facing. Some friends have decided to boycott the festival as a protest. We, #TeamMuramba have decided to do our protest in the festival itself. It would be proper to make our voice against suppression of freedom of expression loud and clear in festival itself,” he wrote.
There were reports that National Award-winning director Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar had withdrawn their film, Kaasav, from IFFI as an act of solidarity towards directors Ravi Jadhav (of Nude) and Sanal Sasidharan (of S Durga). When indianexpress.com got in touch with Bhave, while the director refuted the reports, she condemned the ministry’s action and called for a united protest against the government.
“We should stand united but I cannot withdraw my film because I am not the producer and I am fully aware of my position. But certainly so, I am very much with the director of Nude and we would want all filmmakers, whose films are in the Panaroma section, to stand united. If all of them decide to withdraw their film, I would certainly be with them. I stand for the freedom of expression. Therefore, if the government wants to go against this, I am against the government,” she said.