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Kerala High Court overrules I&B, says screen S Durga at IFFI

The high court cleared S Durga's screening pointing out that the film had been certified by the regional office of the CBFC. Director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan hailed the court’s ruling as a victory of “cinema and democracy.”

Written by Shaju Philip , Dipti Nagpaul | Thiruvananthapuram,mumbai | Updated: November 22, 2017 5:02 am
s durga directed by sanal sasidharan was banned from iffi 2017 S Durga is directed Sanal Sasidharan.

Days after the Information & Broadcasting Ministry dropped S Durga from the Indian Panorama section of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), the Kerala High Court Tuesday ordered the screening of the Malayalam film at the festival.

Acting on a petition by S Durga’s director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan who had challenged the exclusion of his film from IFFI, Justice Vinod Chandran ordered that the certified version of the film be screened at the festival.

I&B Ministry standing counsel C G Preetha said the government was considering a challenge to the order.

The Ministry argued that the filmmakers had submitted an uncertified version of the film for the festival, and in such a case, the film needed to get exemption from the Ministry as per regulations. Since the makers of S Durga hadn’t obtained any such exemption within the specified span, the Ministry said it could not allow the film’s screening at the festival.

The Ministry also objected to the petition on grounds of jurisdiction. It said simply because characters in the film speak Malayalam, or the film had been shot in Kerala did not confer the High Court jurisdiction to interfere with a decision taken in New Delhi not to screen the film at the festival.

But the High Court cleared the screening, pointing out that the film had been certified by the regional office of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). This certified version of the film, it said, could be screened at IFFI which opened Monday.

“The jury has included the film for screening in the festival after viewing the un-censored version itself. When even the un-censored version was found to be worthy by the jury for presentation, there can be no objection raised as to the certified version being screened,’’ the single-judge bench said.

A delighted Sasidharan, who is in Australia, hailed the court ruling as a victory of “cinema and democracy”, a PTI report said. He is attending the Asia Pacific screen festival in Brisbane, where he has been nominated in the best director category for the film.

Sasidharan had approached the High Court last week, seeking an interim order to direct IFFI organisers to include his film in the Indian Panorama section of the festival, and calling its exclusion “arbitrary”, “illegal” and “unjust”. S Durga narrates the bitter experiences of a hitchhiking couple.

Responding to the High Court direction, Apurva Asrani, who had quit the jury in protest, said: “Why is a woman worshipped in a temple but treated as a mere sex object on our streets? S Durga explores that question brilliantly and we as jury were proud to have programmed it.”

“I don’t know how and why it got dropped, but I have always believed that if our I & B Minister, who is an empowered woman herself, were to see this film, she would go all out to support it. I am also thankful to several members of the jury who spoke up in support of S Durga and Nude. I am sure it has helped Sanal’s case,” Asrani said.

Suresh Heblikar, also on the jury, said: “I don’t know the details of the case but indeed this is quite a victory. How the film will be accommodated, I am not sure. But I am eager to see the film at the festival.”

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  1. M
    Mukund
    Nov 22, 2017 at 2:40 pm
    Kerala Judges are as such corrupt, so there palms must have been greased. Threy do not rule anything for hindus, so those s will always behave like that. I as a right to free speech am saying this.
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    1. J
      Jayadev G A G
      Nov 22, 2017 at 4:32 pm
      Hindus are victims of India's pseudo-secularism. Hindus should wake up.
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    2. Aryan Shah
      Nov 22, 2017 at 9:17 am
      Will HC judge allow a movie made on ayesha or mary with such derogatory terms? Was Mary a virgin? Because it is scientifically known an virgin cannot have kids. Was she raped by the 3 men who had later come to visit jesus on his birth with gifts? India is not a democracy. India is dictatorship by judges of India. These stupid oldies want themselves to be treated as royalties. Indian cons ution was made by lawyers mostly and so they have given tremendous power to judges.
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      1. J
        Jayadev G A G
        Nov 22, 2017 at 4:35 pm
        Sir, Hindus have become victims of India's pseudo-secularism. Hindus should wake up.
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      2. C
        Curious onlooker
        Nov 22, 2017 at 8:08 am
        Quote, "The Ministry also objected to the pe ion on grounds of jurisdiction. It said simply because characters in the film speak Malayalam, or the film had been shot in Kerala did not confer the High Court jurisdiction to interfere with a decision taken in New Delhi not to screen the film at the festival." Unquote. It is open defiance of a High Court judgment and the Ministry concerned which challenged its Order must be held in contempt of Court, failing which it would only serve as a precedent for all states to defy the authority of the courts including that of the apex court.
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        1. B
          blackpower
          Nov 22, 2017 at 4:33 am
          Hello young boys and gals.I love you. Please go through all the comments I have made here. : indianexpress /article/entertainment/bollywood/padmavati-row-deepika-padukone-sanjay-leela-bhansali-cbfc-isnt-it-the-govts-job-to-prevent-threats-to-filmmakers-asks-shyam-benegal-4945597/ After reading all the comments of me and my colleagues all you guys I know are in awe. And you are wondering? How exactlt did I get so smart and intelligent?Where exactly did I gain all these knowledge from? And Unfortunately no It is not from that four foul mouthed Brahma. It was all revealed to me by JESUS when the pedo father at my local church had inserted his PEN-IS in my ar-se and later also when he had pedo fun with my newborns. Now you want to be as intelligent and smart as me?? I know do. Now it is your opportunity to convert to Christianity and bring your newborns to your pedo father at your local church. And have some pedo fun. Okay no I go to have my pedo fun tonite with my holey father.
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          1. A
            Abu
            Nov 22, 2017 at 12:18 am
            Here's the storyline for you for next movie. "Was Mary a Victim of Rape in War? Was Jesus the "illegitimate" son of a Roman soldier, as is claimed in the Talmud? If so, then it is highly unlikely that his mother Mary would have consented to having with a solder of an occupying force that was oppressing her people. No, what happens in situations like this, as has been repeatedly documented, is that women in occupied countries become victims rape in war. If Mary was a victim of rape in war, she would not have chosen to have at the time she became pregnant with Jesus, so in a very real sense, in the moral sense, she would still have been a virgin, even though she had conceived a child. This would nicely explain Joseph's initial at ude of wanting to divorce Mary quietly, and his change of heart, after coming to realize, that Virgn Mary was not virgin but was raped and was really not the slightest bit at fault,
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            1. C
              Curious onlooker
              Nov 22, 2017 at 8:18 am
              Islamists should confine their talk only on their child molester founder of religion.
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