Censor Board Stops Screening of S Durga, Objects to 'Boxes' in New Title

Image: News18 Creatives

Image: News18 Creatives

A letter from the regional censor board office in Thiruvananthapuram told the producers of the film that the date and time of re-censorship will be informed to him later.


Shrishti Negi

New Delhi: It’s the latest twist in a harrowing road trip for Sanal K Sasidharan’s S Durga. The film has been stopped from further screening by the Censor Board — with hours left for the government to comply with court orders to show it at IFFI — saying the "boxes" used in his altered title gave “a different implication.”

The reference here is to the marks used by Sasidharan to mask the letters e-x-y from its original title Sexy Durga which was earlier on the orders from the censor board.

A letter from the regional censor board office in Thiruvananthapuram told the producers of the film that the date and time to "re-examine" the film will be informed later.

"We have received a complaint from the IFFI jury at Goa that the title of the film on title card is shown by the filmmaker as "S### Durga" ( where # means rectangular white boxes) which has totally different implications," the letter from the Regional Officer said.

The letter, sent with the approval of the CBFC chairman, went on to say that the filmmaker "prima facie deliberately violated" the Cinematograph Act.

The letter said the complaint came from the jury at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) which was forced to watch the film again on the orders of the Kerala High Court after it was dropped from the Indian Panorama by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

This would mean that the film need not be screened at IFFI but may even miss the date with the International Film Festival of Kerala where it is scheduled.​

Reacting to the Censor Board letter, Sasidharan said, “This is a clear intrusion into artistic freedom. This dispensation is becoming more rigid by the day.”

S Durga, which tells the story of a couple on a deserted highway at night, was dropped from IFFI 2017 by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, prompting festival jury chief Sujoy Ghosh and two other members to quit.

Following this, Sasidharan approached the Kerala High Court and got an order which said: "The certified version of the film 'S Durga' will be viewed by the jury and on that basis, the film will be exhibited in the Indian Panorama of the IFFI."

The movie was watched on Monday night by a reconstituted jury, and on Tuesday, with just a few hours left for the closing ceremony, the Censor Board ordered it should not be screened until it was "re-examined".

Shortly after the Censor Board's letter, Sasidharan was officially informed by IFFI director that the film cannot be exhibited at IFFI "as a consequence to the orders of CBFC."

S Durga has been screened at around 50 international film festivals, including International Film Festival Rotterdam, Guanajuato International Film Festival in Mexico and Armenia's Yerevan International Film Festival.

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