Nude and Sexy are no-no

Two films have been omitted from the screening list of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa later this month even though the jury had included them in its recommendations.

By Anita Joshua
  • Published 11.11.17
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New Delhi: Two films have been omitted from the screening list of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa later this month even though the jury had included them in its recommendations.

The films' names - one is called Nude and the other Sexy Durga that has subsequently been rechristened S Durga - appear to have made the Union information and broadcasting ministry blush.

Many of the 13 members of the feature films jury of the Indian Panorama section are learnt to have sent individual mails to the ministry expressing unhappiness over the alleged move to interfere with their list. The jury, headed by director Sujoy Bose, had viewed 178 films to choose 20 for the festival, beginning on November 20.

Some jury members and the director of Sexy Durga said the films could have been dropped merely because of their names and that the content had nothing controversial. The censor board, which cleared the movie independently of the festival, had suggested the name change, to which the filmmaker agreed as no cuts were suggested.

Ravi Jadhav's Marathi film Nude deals with the lives of women who act as models for artistes. Sanal Kumar Sasidharan's Malayalam movie Sexy Durga depicts the patriarchal society in Kerala against the backdrop of a north Indian girl named Durga who is eloping with a youth from the southern state.

Sasidharan said: "I had expected this to happen as this government is blindly following a majoritarian principle and they would not look beyond the title though the film has nothing to do with the goddess."

Two members of the jury confirmed to The Telegraph that Nude had not only topped their list in order of preference, but had also been voted as the Indian Panorama section's inaugural film.

The jury apparently got to know of the changes from an email sent to them by the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), under the information and broadcasting ministry, informing them about the films that would be shown in the Indian Panorama section.

None in the DFF or the ministry responded to phone calls and text messages from this paper.

Rajesh Kumar Singh, a member of the preview committee that chooses entries from the Indian Panorama section for the international competition at IFFI, however, unwittingly confirmed that Sexy Durga had been selected by the jury.

" Sexy Durga is now part of Indian Panorama section at IFFI and will now be exhibited at Goa and across India," Singh, a producer-director, tweeted on Thursday, tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani.

A jury member, filmmaker Satarupa Sanyal, said she was not happy with the ministry's decision. "It is also possible that both these films could win an award at some major international film festival, and then this could become an embarrassment for the government," she told this newspaper.

Another jury member said on condition of anonymity that one of them had apprehended that the authorities could object to Nude and Sexy Durga for their titles and had suggested adding two films as alternatives. "But the two films were listed as 21 and 22 to indicate that our choice was the first 20 on the list," the member said.

According to sources, the Assamese film Xhoixobote Dhemalite and the Odiya movie Khyanikaa had replaced Nude and Sexy Durga.

Sasidharan said: "They (the censor board) cleared my film without cuts, so I agreed to the name change. People can judge for themselves. I am not making films for the Indian government."