Malayalam director Sanal Sasidharan is set to file a petition against the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF) protesting against the Information and Broadcasting ministry’s decision to pull out his film S Durga from the International Film Festival of India, to be held later this month.
The festival jury that had selected Sasidharan’s film to screen at the coveted festival was not informed of the ministry’s decision, which has now prompted filmmaker and IFFI jury head Sujoy Ghosh to resign from his position. Talking about his plan of action, Sasidharan told indianexpress.com, “I am approaching court. I am filing a case today. It will be against the DFF, ministry and the festival director. There will be a bunch of respondents.” DFF, set up by the I&B ministry, is an organisation that initiates and presents IFFI.
S Durga, which has won awards at international film festivals, follows the horrifying experience of two hitchhikers, a man and a woman, in the dead of the night.
Reacting to Ghosh’s resignation, Sasidharan said that it is undemocratic that the jury was not consulted by the ministry before taking a call. “Actually, this is very unfortunate, that the jury appointed by I&B ministry itself coming out and stated that the ministry doing something without consulting the jury. It’s highly arbitrary. it’s not democratic.”
But what has saddened the director more is the stoic silence from his own industry. Sasidharan said it is depressing that an industry, which otherwise doesn’t shy away from taking up causes pertaining to freedom of speech and expression, is not showing any reaction to what has happened with his film.
“Film industry has more or less been silent. But I have seen people from Mumbai, from outside my language are supporting. Umesh Kulkarni (Marathi director) called me twice… People, mostly from the Marathi film industry, are agitated against this and they said they won’t attend the festival. (People) from my state, most of the times we are proactive, we protest each and everything, but now, it is almost dead silence. Nobody is saying any single word against this. It is very depressing. Somebody is grabbing all the powers and doing something unconstitutional but people are staying silent as if nothing has happened. This is very sad. ”
Besides S Durga, Marathi filmmaker Ravi Jadhav’s Nude has also been dropped from the festival, which will commence on November 20.