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IFFI Row: 'False' Controversy Over Removal of S Durga and Nude, Says Vivek Agnihotri

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry on November 9 had 26 feature and 16 non-feature films for the Indian Panorama section of IFFI. Both S Durga and Nude were recommended for the section by the 13-member jury, but were dropped from the Ministry's final list.

Shrishti Negi | News18.com

Updated:November 15, 2017, 2:12 PM IST
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IFFI Row: 'False' Controversy Over Removal of S Durga and Nude, Says Vivek Agnihotri
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Vivek Agnihotri, chairman of the preview committee of IFFI, has come out in support of the I&B ministry and said that the controversy over dropping S Durga and Nude from the final list of 26 feature films issued by the Smriti Irani-headed department for the Panorama section of the 48th International Film Festival of India is “completely false”.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry on November 9 had 26 feature and 16 non-feature films for the Indian Panorama section of IFFI. Both S Durga and Nude were recommended for the section by the 13-member jury, but were dropped from the Ministry's final list. It was reported that the switch was made at the ministry level without consulting jury.

However, Agnihotri told News18.com that the ministry has a right to choose any film and he doesn’t find anything controversial in it.

“Where is the controversy? Where is the news? Jury had recommended 22 films for the selection. The ministry then chose 20 of 22, which is completely fine. Had the ministry dropped other two films then also there would have been a problem. It’s completely narrative and false."

After the two films were pulled out from the festival, director Sujoy Ghosh resigned as jury head of IFFI’s Indian Panorama section in protest. On Wednesday morning, film editor and a senior jury member, Apurva Asrani too stepped down from the post.

Reacting to the same, Agnihotri said, “There are so many celebrated members on the jury panel if they don’t have any issue with the decision then where is the problem? Just because somebody is being rebel doesn’t make them right. Also, the people who have resigned have not yet cited any reason. Why everyone is assuming on their own.”

Meanwhile S Durga director Sanal Sasidharan has filed a writ petition in the Kerala High Court against the ministry and festival officials.

Sasidharan told News18.com that the Directorate of Film Festivals and the Festival Director were also respondents. His lawyer Manu Sebastian said the matter will be taken up on Thursday.


Sasidharan's petition said the ministry "arbitrarily vetoed" the IFFI jury's decision and dropped his film "without notice" and "without assigning any reason."

"The decision is totally illegal and erroneous, and has caused prejudice to the petitioner. The petitioner’s film, which has won international accolades, has been deprived of opportunity of screening in the prestigious IFFI, due to arbitrariness," the petition said.
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