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Kerala HC Orders S Durga Screening at IFFI, Says I&B Ministry's Objection Untenable

A single judge bench led by Justice K. Vinod held that the Sanal Kumar Sashidharan directed movie can be screened at the film festival and thereby overturned the objections raised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:November 21, 2017, 7:59 PM IST
Kerala HC Orders S Durga Screening at IFFI, Says I&B Ministry's Objection Untenable
Image: News18 Creatives

Kochi: The Kerala High Court has ordered that Malayalam film S Durga, earlier dropped by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry against the decision of the selection jury, should be screened at the ongoing International Film Festival of India in Goa.

A single judge bench led by Justice K. Vinod held that the Sanal Kumar Sashidharan-directed movie can be screened at the film festival since the movie was awarded a ‘U/A’ certificate by the Central Board of Film Certification. It held that the decision of the jury was final and binding and the Ministry had no power to over-rule it.

The court delivered the verdict after acting on a petition filed by the film's director challenging the exclusion of S Durga from IFFI, which began on November 20. S Durga is the first Indian movie to win the Tiger Award at International Film Festival Rotterdam since the award was instituted in 1995.

In an interaction with News18.com, filmmaker Sasidharan said, "I’m happy that the court has ordered the screening. This is the victory of cinema and those people who stood up for it and sacrificed a lot."

S Durga, along with the Marathi movie Nude, was dropped by the ministry from the Indian Panorama section without giving a reason after which IFFI jury chief Sujoy Ghosh and members Apurva Asrani and Gyan Correa resigned.

Asrani said he was looking forward to attend the festival after the court's decision. "Fantastic! The court has directed IFFI to screen #SexyDurga on the day #IndianPanorama is inaugurated. "This is a huge victory for @sanalsasidharan and restores my faith in our democracy. I now look forward to attending the

festival to watch the film!" he tweeted.

Director Sasidharan had approached the high court, but the ministry had challenged it saying the Kerala court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter as the cause of action had not arisen in the state. But the judge noted that the certification of the movie by CBFC was done in Kerala and that hence the court could hear the case.

The title of the film was originally Sexy Durga but the title was changed and some offensive words were muted before Central Board of Film Certification issued the U/A certification.

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