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Directors Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Adoor Gopalakrishnan slam IFFI jury

While the preparation for the International Film Festival of India is in full swing, veteran directors like Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Buddhadeb Dasgupta have come down heavily on the choice of films by the jury. 

Shriram Iyengar

At the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF), rebellion seems to be brewing against what is often called the 'Cannes of India' — the International Film Festival of India. Adoor Gopalakrishnan had rallied against the jury and the choices of films screened at the IFFI. Now, director Buddhadeb Dasgupta has joined with some criticism of his own. 

Gopalakrishnan's criticism arrived after his film, Pinneyum, was rejected by the IFFI jury. The 16-time National Award winner said, "It isn't always possible to get 21 very good films. Therefore, it is good to have some average films. But why take rubbish in it?" 

At the press conference during the announcement of his latest work, Pinneyum, the director had spoken about his disappointments with film festivals across the country. 

Read more: People think Hindi cinema is national cinema. It's not: Adoor Gopalakrishnan

Incidentally, like Gopalakrishnan, Dasgupta's Tope has also been rejected by the jury. Starring Chandan Roy Sanyal, Sudipto Chatterjee, Kajal Kumari and Paoli Dam, the film has been screened at the Master's Section of the Toronto International Film Festival already. Dasgupta said, "It's a pity that Indian Panorama never understood the merit of this film. I am eager to know who selects this jury board. Adoor's film was shown at MAMI and Toronto. I have been showing my films in the Master's section of Toronto for seven years now. Even this year, they invited me to screen Tope in the Master's section. Don't the jury members of IFFI realise that people will question their own credentials when they see their selection and rejection list? I have heard that most of the IFFI selected films have been rejected by prestigious international film festivals." 

The IFFI jury is headed by a 13-member jury led by director-producer Rajendra Singh Babu. IFFI will see 22 films from Indian directors being screened at the Indian Panorama section. Some of the films being screened include Airlift (2016), Sultan (2016), Bajirao Mastani (2015), along with Bengali films like Gautam Ghose's Shankhachil, Kaushik Ganguly's Vastushaap, and Manas Mukul Pai's Shahaj Pather Golpo. 

With just a week to go for the big opening, the IFFI patrons might need to get to work on the public perception after such criticism of the festival.