Kerala HC orders IFFI to screen S Durga

Nov 22, 2017, 09:40 IST | Mohar Basu

S Durga filmmaker on Kerala HC instructing IFFI to play his film at the festival as per jury's choice

Sanal Kumar Sasidharan's battle came to a fitting end yesterday. The Kerala High Court yesterday directed the Information & Broadcasting Ministry and the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) to screen his Malayalam film, S Durga, which was dropped from the film festival's line-up of movies despite being selected by the Indian Panorama jury. In his judgment, Justice K Vinod Chandran deemed that the CBFC certified version of the film was entitled to be screened.

Still from S Durga
Still from S Durga

Overjoyed by the ruling, Sasidharan, who is currently attending Asia Pacific Screen Awards in Brisbane for the same film, told mid-day, "I am not the one to usually celebrate victories. But I can't stay away from being ecstatic about this one. This is the victory of cinema and of our democracy."

Sanal Kumar Sasidharan
Sanal Kumar Sasidharan

S Durga was one of the two films that were unceremoniously dropped from the line-up on November 11, days before the film festival was to kick off. Sujoy Ghosh had stepped down as the jury chief as a mark of protest.

Grateful that many had voiced their protest against IFFI's dictatorial ways, Sasidharan added, "This is the victory of those people from the jury who sacrificed for the film. This is a message that champions freedom of speech."

He doesn't deny that freedom of expression is finding itself increasingly under threat, citing Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmavati as the latest example where artistic expression is being choked. "But this ruling reinstates my faith in the judiciary."

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