IFFI 2017 - Should Film Festivals Have Censorship

By: Amit Agarwal

Film Festivals worldover have a persistent question that stems out of perceived controversial content of a film. Should films be censored or screened in their entirety? International Film Festival of India in Goa, too faced such a concern this year.

The filmmakers of films that they claim are banned or dropped from IFFI 2017, S Durga, Nude, wanted to be heard and presented their views on the same to the press during IFFI.

In a letter to Smriti Irani (dated 18 November) 6 more members of the jury that selects films for the Indian Panorama section expressed their concerns at the ministry’s dropping of two films selected by the Jury, Nude (by Ravi Jadhav) and S Durga (by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan). The letter emailed on Saturday evening says, ‘We find it distressing that the two films were removed without any intimation, discussion or recourse to the Jury which has the final say according to the Indian Panorama rules.’

The letter acknowledges the resignation of three members following the ministry’s unexpected removal of the two films. The six signatories include: Satarupa Sanyal, Sachin Chatte, Suresh Heblikar, Hari Vishwanath, Ruchi Narain, Gopi Desai. The letter, which was picked up by the media soon after, was quietly followed by an email on Sunday night where Rahul Rawail was appointed as the acting Chairperson of Jury.

The letter to the Jury ended with ‘a request to initiate a conversation so that the remaining films which are extremely worthy of the Indian Panorama are not forgotten in the midst of this controversy, and that the two films under dispute are also given a fair chance to be viewed in the light that the Jury has wished them to be.’