Short film on conflict in Kashmir dropped from MIFF line-up
After short film on conflict in Kashmir dropped from MIFF line-up at nth hour, festival director rules out foul play
In another instance of the Information & Broadcasting Ministry preventing the screening of a film, Shawn Sebastian and Fazil NC's short film, In The Shade Of Fallen Chinar, was unceremoniously dropped from the line-up of the government-run Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) on January 29. The documentary was denied censor exemption from the I&B Ministry on the basis of the Cinematograph Act, which includes "policy for certification of films for film festivals." The decision has since sparked outrage among the jury of the film festival, who weren't notified of the exclusion, and the makers as well.
When mid-day reached out to Manish Desai (director, MIFF), he put the onus on Sebastian and Fazil NC for the ill-fate of the film that deals with the conflict in Kashmir. Pointing out that the 16-minute documentary did not have a censor certificate, he said, "I had suggested to the makers that they apply for a censor certificate on fast-track, in January itself. It is not mandatory for movies to have a censor certificate. But in the absence of it, the film must be exempted by the I&B Ministry. But, this film was not."
After the documentary's exclusion, the selection committee not only staged a protest, but also wrote a letter to Desai last week, requesting for its public screening. However, their plea fell on deaf ears as the festival concluded on February 3 without the short film being screened."It couldn't have been screened for the public because that would've been unlawful. However, since it was part of the National Competition, the jury did watch the film," argued Desai.
Dismissing these reasons as mere excuses, Shawn said, "The film has done its fair share of festival rounds. We never required a certificate till last year." He added that in the light of the events, they're considering applying for certification. "That way, the CBFC or the government body in authority will be compelled to give us in writing what is objectionable about the film."
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