IFFI Panorama jury watches ‘S Durga’; suspense over screening continues

Panaji: The IFFI’s Indian Panorama jury watched the censored version of the controversial Malayalam film ‘S Durga‘ today but suspense over its screening at the festival continued, with jury head Rahul Rawail saying the information and broadcasting ministry would take a final call on the matter.

The jury has submitted its report to the ministry, and a final decision on the film’s screening at the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which comes to an end tomorrow, was yet to be taken, Rawail said.

The recent development on the public screening of the film has left its director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan disappointed.

Sasidharan, who had earlier moved the Kerala High Court against the ministry’s decision to drop the film, called the whole process a “dirty game”.

Rawail said the final decision was yet to be made and that he was not sure when the Malayalam film would be screened at the IFFI.

“I cannot say anything at this point of time. The report has been handed over to the information and broadcasting ministry and it will forward it (the report) to the court. Only then, I can talk further. After the final decision is made, I will be open to talk (to you),” he told reporters here.

The censored version of the Malayalam film, which was excluded from the Panorama by the ministry, was screened for the jury of the section at 5.30 pm today.

Director Satish Kaushik, who also attended the screening, said the jury has decided to send a report to the ministry, which will take the final call.

“Jury has taken the decision… The report has been submitted to the ministry… Now it will take the final call  on the screening of the film soon,” he said.

Asked about his thoughts on the development, Sasidharan told PTI, “I have lost interest in this altogether. What has happened is very unfair. I don’t want to indulge in all this anymore. It is not about my film anymore. It is about the system being ruined. Actually, it is the condition of all the citizens. It is ridiculous.”

The movie was dropped from IFFI’s Panorama section, along with the Marathi film “Nude” by the ministry, after which Sasidharan had moved the Kerala High Court.

On November 21, just a day after the festival started, the court ordered that the film be screened at the IFFI. The ministry had tried to get a stay order on the decision, but was denied the same by a larger bench of the court.

Popular news anchor Sudhir Chaudhary also attended the screening. According to sources, Chaudhary has probably come on board as a jury member after three members including Sujoy Ghosh resigned following the ministry’s decision to pull out ‘S Durga’ and ‘Nude’.

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