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Documentary Row: Director to Move Court, Kerala Minister Calls it Fascist Trend

The government has said that the three movies deal with sensitive issues and if shown, they could lead to a flare-up of emotions.

Neethu Reghukumar | News18.com

Updated:June 12, 2017, 5:24 PM IST
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Documentary Row: Director to Move Court, Kerala Minister Calls it Fascist Trend
The director of 'March, March, March,' a film on student agitation in JNU, said she will move the court as the government's decision was arbitary. (Picture for representation).

Thiruvananthapuram: The central government’s decision to deny permission to screen three documentaries at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala is a sign of a fascist trend in the country, Kerala’s cultural affairs minister A K Balan said on Monday.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s decision to deny censor exemption certification to the films that are based on recent national controversies has come under fire, with calls to reverse the decision growing. The Kerala State Chalachithra Academy, organiser of the film festival, said it would lodge an official appeal against the decision.

The three films with a socio-political theme that were denied certification are ‘The Unbearable Being of Lightness,’ which is based on the Rohith Vemula suicide; ‘In the shade of Fallen Chinar,’ which is based on the unrest in Kashmir, and ‘March, March, March’, based on the student agitation at JNU.

On Monday, Kathu Lukose, director of ‘March, March, March,’ said she would move the court against the decision by the ministry. She said that the Centre did not give any acceptable explanation and the decision was arbitrary.

ALSO READ | Govt Denies Permission to Screen Films on Rohith Vemula, JNU and Kashmir Unrest

Lukose, who was a student of arts and aesthetics at the varisty when the protests broke out, said, “No reason has been given by the government. If you look at the nature of the films that were denied permission, you can understand the reason. This has been a common trend against student uprising and against artists for some time now."

The government has said that the three movies deal with sensitive issues and if shown, they could lead to a flare-up of emotions.

AK Balan, however, said that not allowing documentaries to be screened is an unacceptable trend. “For some time we are seeing a fascist trend that is intolerant towards dissent and trying to silence voice of dissent through threats. Why are some people scared when movies are made for discussion on current political situations?” the minister asked.

The minister added that no other state holds a documentary and short film festival and said that Kerala will fight together against such issues.

Kerala State Chalachithra Academy chairman Kamal called it a “cultural emergency.” “Never in the history of Indian democracy have we seen such problems with freedom of expression other than in emergency. We are being reminded of emergency days,” he said.

He added that the movies dealing with these three topics not getting clearance shows the intolerance and talks a lot about the present political scenario.

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