Making a surprise move, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry removed filmmaker Ravi Jadhav’s latest Marathi movie Nude and the much-talked about Malayalam film S Durga, directed by Sanal Sasidharan, from the Indian Panorama section of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa. The jury for Indian Panorama, headed by filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh, had selected both these movies for this section and had even recommended Nude as its opening film. Speaking to us, over the telephone, both Jadhav and Sasidharan expressed their shock over such “an unprecedented” move by the Ministry and sought to know the reasons behind it.
Incidentally, both Jadhav and Sasidharan believe that the titles of their movies — Nude and S Durga (which was earlier called Sexy Durga) — could be the reasons of their removal from the government-organised festival, scheduled to be held from November 20 to 28. Jadhav, who has directed some of the major Marathi movies in recent years, says, “I’ve heard the Ministry officials have not watched the two films. They have perhaps gone by the title.” However, according to him, the government is aware of his movie’s title since last month he had applied and got a UA certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for the film’s teaser that was shown in theatres. Last week, he applied for the censor certificate for the movie Nude, which he intends to release in next March. He is waiting for the board to give the certificate.
S Durga is an independent Malayalam movie that reveals the patriarchal mindset of the society. It revolves around Durga, a north Indian migrant, and Kabeer, a Keralite, who are on the run. It shows their travails through the night as they try to reach a nearby railway station. Nude narrates the story of Yamuna, who is a mother of a 12-year-old boy, and is abandoned by her husband for another woman. Being the sole breadwinner, she moves to Mumbai and takes up the only job that comes her way — to be a model at an art school.
While Sasidharan has already mailed the Ministry seeking to know why S Durga was dropped from the list and demanding that it should be reinstated, Jadhav too plans to approach the Ministry soon with similar queries. “I had submitted the film for Indian Panorama this year and came to know that, it has been selected by the 13-member jury appointed by your Ministry unanimously… Later on, to my surprise the film is not in the list officially published in the website of IFFI.
I have not received any mail from the Ministry or the festival regarding the rejection of my film till date. I wonder why this arbitrary removal of the film happened. If the jury has selected the film and it is removed without any reason, it is totally unprecedented and an irregular procedure,” the Kerala-based director wrote to the Ministry, and added, “Kindly, give instructions to the officials to screen the films which the jury unanimously selected for the festival.” Earlier known as Sexy Durga, the movie was refused clearance from the I&B Ministry for its screening at the Mumbai Film Festival, following which, it applied to the CBFC for a certificate. It got an UA certificate after renaming the movie as S Durga, and several audio cuts.
When the Ministry announced the list of feature and non-feature films for the Indian Panorama, Jadhav was upset that his film was not selected for it. However, it turned into a major disappointment when he came to know that “it was excluded from the festival without communicating it to the jury”. In the past, Jadhav’s movies such as Natarang, Balgandharva and Balak Palak have been featured in this section meant to showcase movies by Indian filmmakers. “After a long time, a Marathi film was selected to open the Panorama section. It was a big honour for me. I don’t know why they dropped it. Till now, there is no reason cited by the Ministry. I am looking for the answer and going to mail to the Ministry to understand the reason for this. I believe the jury members have mailed them too,” says Jadhav, who is a graduate of JJ School of Art, Mumbai. In his mail, Jadhav will request the Ministry officials to watch the film. If there is a problem after that, he is ready for a discussion. “So far, there has been no communication, only rejection. If I know why they rejected it, I could think of a solution,” he says.
Point of view
Ravi Jadhav, Director:
I don’t know why my movie Nude was removed from the Indian Panorama section of IFFI. Till now, the Ministry has not cited any reason for it. We are going to mail the Ministry to understand the reason behind it. I have heard the Ministry officials have not watched the film yet. They, perhaps, have gone by the movie’s title. The movie revolves around the nude models who help in the study of human anatomy at the JJ School of Arts, Mumbai. There is no nudity in the film.
Sanal Sasidharan, Director
I have sent a mail to the I&B Ministry asking them to stick to the jury list and reinstate my film in the Indian Panorama section of IFFI. I am seeking legal advice and will be approaching the court soon. I will revealing the details regarding this on Tuesday. They have removed the film without citing any reason. The people who are claiming to be saviours of Indian culture are taking such actions. My film reflects the reality of the society.