By Express Features Service
The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) feature and non-feature films jury denied having rejected movies on the basis of being “anti-national” at a press meet in Panjim on Wednesday. The members were responding to a statement reportedly made by jury member Ujjwal Chatterjee. The film director was recently quoted as saying that six-seven films were rejected for being “anti-national”.
“All deliberations of the jury are held within a closed door room. There is an undertaking that we’ve all given that we will not talk about these deliberations. The press must have misquoted him. There is nothing anti-national,” said Rahul Rawail, chairman of the IFFI Indian Panaroma (Feature Film).
The festival has 22 movies in the feature film category, and 21 in the non-feature film category. “Out of the 212 films that were in contention, we rejected 190. We had very cordial discussions,” said jury member and movie director Major Ravi.
Chairman of the jury for non-feature category, Vinod Ganatra, also denied the allegations. “All films coming to us are Indian. It is national. Nothing is anti-national. Nobody thinks about all these things.” Of the hundreds of applications, which went through the jury’s deliberations, Rawail said the most impressive were stories revolving around Section 377.
The jury emphasised on the need to promote regional cinema. The members also had to explain the absence of women members in the jury for the feature film section, at a time when the film industry is dealing with #MeToo stories and discussions regarding gender equality. “I raised this when I joined the jury as its chairman. Apparently, they could not identify a lady,” said Rawail. Ravi added that due to the fire at the IFFI office, last minute calls were made to put together the jury.