Mumbai-based filmmaker Gyan Correa became the third member of the International Film Festival of India jury to resign on Wednesday after the Information and Broadcasting Ministry removed two films selected by the jury for screening at the festival.
The jury head, filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh, and writer-editor Apurva Asrani have already resigned from the 13-member panel.
Sources said the three quit after two films — Nude (Marathi) and S Durga (Malayalam) — selected by the jury, were removed from the final list by the ministry.
Correa, who directed The Good Road, a national award-winning film that was India’s entry to the Oscars in 2014, did not comment on his move.
Kannada filmmaker Suresh Heblikar, who is on the jury, said the idea is to appeal to the ministry and point out the merits of the two films. “Both the films are beautifully made and show the social issues that ail society, without doing so in a repulsive way. Maybe if Ms Irani personally watches the films and has a discussion with us, we can change her mind,” Heblikar said.
Most members have openly expressed their disappointment at the ministry’s decision, especially since it was made without consulting or informing them. The rules for the selection of films under the Indian Panorama section states that the jury’s decision will be final, even under arbitration.
Ministry sources on Tuesday said the two films were dropped on technical grounds. But several members believe there was no reason to disqualify the films.
The reason for disqualifying Nude, said a ministry source, was that the film submitted to them was a work in progress.
Filmmaker Hari Viswanathan, a member of the jury, admitted that the visual effects in the version screened for the festival were not complete, but added: “We brought it to the notice of the Directorate that the version being screened for the jury is not the final copy. We were told that we should go ahead and watch the available version and if it makes it to the final list, a final version will be acquired from the makers for the festival,” Viswanathan said.
Director Ravi Jadhav said that no one from IFFI reached out to him for a revised copy of the film, which is now complete.
In the case of S Durga, it was denied exemption from certification by the ministry when director Sanil Sasidharan wanted to screen the film at Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) in October. This “uniform benchmark”, said a ministry source, applies also to the IFFI.
Sasidharan pointed out that the film was finally screened at MFF after it got a clearance from Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
“I submitted the same, uncensored copy to IFFI three months ago, with an application for exemption. If the application at IFFI, too, has been rejected, the directorate needs to inform me about the same, which they have not,” he said.