Films ‘Nude’ & ‘S Durga’ Barred From Screening In Goa Film Festival, Directors Given No Reasons
Directors Sanal Kumar Sasidharan and Ravi Jadhav’s films are not to be shown at the the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) to be held in Goa later this month, reported Hindustan Times.
Sasidharan has directed the Malayalam film S Durga, while Jadhav’s Marathi film is titled Nude. Both the movies were selected to be screened at the Goa festival by the IFFI jury headed by acclaimed director, Sujoy Ghosh.
Sasidharan and Jadhav are shocked and disappointed by the decision to drop the films from the Panorama section, that too without giving them any proper reasons. Both of them have asked the ministry to provide them with adequate reasons supporting their decision.
What were the movies about?
Nude, the story of a woman’s struggle for survival in Mumbai as a nude model, was unanimously chosen as the opening film of the Indian Panorama. It has now been replaced by Vinod Kapri’s Hindi film Pihu.
S Durga explores misogyny and sexual violence in Kerala. It is a road movie that follows the horrifying experience of two hitchhikers, a man and a woman, at the hands of two men in the dead of the night.
The movie was originally named ‘Sexy Durga’, but it was later modified to S Durga because the censor board did not allow the word ‘sexy’.
Both the movies have attained critical acclaim. S Durga received the Hivos Tiger Award in the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2017.
Reactions from jury members
A jury member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the ministry’s decision “unprecedented”. The ministry has not responded to the reports.
He has pointed out that the list of the films recommended by the jury are final and are not to be changed – but the ministry has gone out of its way and dropped these films on its own.
The jury’s recommendation is usually made public almost immediately after it hands the list to the minister’s office – it had submitted its list to the ministry on 20-21 September. However, the list was made public only recently and without the name of the two films, he added.
Rajesh Kumar Singh, a member of the preview committee that selects entries from the Indian Panorama section for the international competition at IFFI, took up the issue of the two films on Twitter.
He put out a tweet, tagging Irani, Nude & Sexy Durga are artistically bad films that have been chosen for screening.
Scriptwriter Apurva Asrani, a jury member, has praised the films for presenting “a powerful & empathetic portrait of women in today’s India”
— Apurva Asrani (@Apurvasrani) November 11, 2017
The Logical Indian Take
These kind of decisions by the I&B Ministry and the Censor Board of the country are not new. Similar reactions have been noticed in the case of Abhishek Chaubey’s ‘Udta Punjab’ and the very recent, Alankrita Srivastava’s ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’.
The Logical Indian condemns the decision taken by the industry as it is an outright violation of freedom of speech of the artists. It is essential for the authorities to realise that curbing freedom of speech by camouflaging it with ‘threats to Indian culture’ is not a sensible step to do. More and more films should be made (and not censored) with strong political messages that enable the audience to frame an opinion of their own.