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IFFI 2018: All-Male Jury Left Red-faced After Asked About Absence of Women on Panel

This year, Indian Panorama feature film jury has no woman on panel.

Shrishti Negi |

Updated:November 22, 2018, 10:53 AM IST
IFFI 2018: All-Male Jury Left Red-faced After Asked About Absence of Women on Panel
This year, Indian Panorama feature film jury has no woman on panel.
When a female reporter at the press conference for the 49th edition of International film festival of India directed her question— “What is the composition of jury and how many women do you have on the panel?”— to the all-male filmmakers and actors onstage, Indian Panorama feature film jury head Rahul Rawail left red-faced.

“Unfortunately, this time there was no woman in the feature film jury. I did raise this question when I was appointed as the chairman. Apparently they couldn’t identify a lady,” a visibly confused Rawail said looking at jury members KG Suresh and Major Ravi hurriedly.

Seemingly covering up Rawail’s bizarre response, Suresh added, “It’s also about the availability of the person for that particular duration.”

While Major Ravi, who is known for directing films like Keerti Chakra, Mission 90 Days and Kurukshetra, explained, “The jury members were selected at the last moment and panic calls were made because IFFI office was burnt and they were putting the things together and they didn’t have the time. Even I also had a lot of commitments and shooting. That is why there are no ladies this time on the panel.”

IFFI has also come under fire for not acknowledging the #MeToo initiative even as the other film festivals like MAMI took a strong stand against the sexual perpetrators.

When asked about it, director Vinod Ganatra, who heads the seven-member non-feature film jury, said, “It is a fad which has come with time. It is a chance to get publicity and mileage. It will not last. What is authentic will last. What is not authentic will disappear. There are people who encourage it.”

Recently in an interview with TOI, director Ujjwal Chatterjee, who is part of the IFFI Indian Panorama feature film Jury, said that the team had "rejected six to seven anti-national films.”

Addressing the same, Rawail said, “I don’t know who used the term anti-national. All deliberations of the jury are held within a closed door room, and there's an undertaking that we all have given that we will not talk about these deliberations. My personal feeling is the gentleman who said that they were 'anti-national' films... I am sorry to say but it's the press who must have actually misquoted him."

When mentioned that Chatterjee made the statement on record and has not taken it back, Rawail said maybe he was implying something else.

“I can’t stand up for him but I can say that this is probably a misquote. There are responsible people on the jury and they won't go around talking like this. There's nothing that's anti-national. I’m still trying to understand since I read that thing."

Suresh added there was not a single film that was “anti-national.”
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