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International Film Festival of India or IFFI 2017 is grabbing eyeballs for more reasons than one. This time, not for the films scheduled to be screened, but rather those which have been dropped from the final list. The festival’s jury had previously included S Durga and Nude in the screening list, but a sudden decision from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to remove them from the selected ones has irked many. The IFFI jury, starting with its head and director Sujoy Ghosh, and now screenwriter Apurva Asrani have rendered their resignations in protest. So, what’s the fuss around these two movies all about?
Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s Malayalam movie S Durga highlights the patriarchal set-up in Kerala through the eyes of an eloping couple and the horrors they endure on the way. The film stars Rajashri Despande and Kannan Nair and follows a north Indian girl Durga who flees with a boy from Kerala named Kabeer. S Durga reportedly had no screenplay or a written story and was entirely shot in a night.
The film’s trailer begins with an eloping couple trying to get a transport to reach the railway station in the middle of the night. Though they manage to get a lift, it turns out that those helping them are actually small-time gangsters who are transporting arms. The film unfolds from the eyes of Durga who witnesses a cross section of society and inter-cutting her journey is a Kerala village which is celebrating the festival of Garudan Thookkam, where devotees of Goddess Kali pierce themselves with iron hooks to get rid of problems.
Watch | S Durga Official Trailer
Initially called Sexy Durga, the film’s name was changed to S Durga by the CBFC while giving clearance with a U/A certificate. The film also received 21 audio mutes but no scene-cuts. Director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan had earlier told indianexpress.com, “The film is established and known internationally as Sexy Durga. In India, people are free to interpret S Durga in whichever way they like. The agitation against it is nonsensical and I’ve clarified several times that my film has nothing to do with religion. There is nothing against Durga. Anyway the film is very established, even if you make it S Durga, A Durga, B Durga, the film will remain Sexy Durga.”
S Durga bagged the prestigious Hivos Tiger Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in February this year.