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IFFI 2017 should be remembered for good cinema: IFFI organiser on S Durga controversy

Rajendra Talak, vice-chairperson of the Entertainment Society of Goa also said that occupancy at the festival last month was nearly 100 per cent for all film screenings.


Makers of S Durga can screen the controversial film at other film festivals and the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which did not screen it, should be remembered for good cinema rather than the controversies which erupted during it, a festival organiser said on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference here, Rajendra Talak, vice-chairperson of the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), a co-host of the festival along with National Film Development Corporation, also said that occupancy at the festival here last month was nearly 100 per cent for all film screenings.

Asked about the controversy generated by the Sanal Kumar Sasidharan film, which was not screened at the festival despite a prolonged tussle between the festival director and the Union information and broadcasting ministry, he said: "Let us focus on good cinema happening, rather than a small part of a minor controversy. There are other festivals, so let them screen there".

S Durga was dropped from the screening schedule of the Indian Panorama section of the IFFI along with another film Nude, triggering controversy. Sasidharan intensified his fight for "justice" with a petition at the Kerala high court last week.

The court directed IFFI to screen the film at the festival after a censored version of the movie was screened for the jury, which voted 7-4 in favour of screening it, a day before the festival was to close on 28 November.

However, on the closing day, the Central Board for Film Certification stepped in claiming that the change in title of the film from Sexy Durga to S Durga and then to Sxxx Durga was questionable, and banned the film from being screened at the festival until a fresh certificate was obtained by the filmmaker.

The film had already travelled to dozens of film festivals globally, before it was scheduled to be screened at IFFI, which started in the coastal state on 20 November.

Talak also justified the drop in the number of delegates to the festival from 15,000 in 2013 to 7,113 this year, claiming that the reason for the high number of delegate registered in the past was due to free delegate passes and day passes which were allotted by the organisers, a practice which has since been discontinued.

"Around 7,000 to 8,000 is the perfect number of delegates. You can see the occupancy for film screenings this year. It was almost 100 per cent," he said.

The official also said that there were several Oscar-nominated films which were screened at the festival this year.

"This time we had many Oscar-nominated films... We won't be surprised if tomorrow, the film which got the award (French film 120 BPM) here, may get an Oscar. That is likely to happen, because that is the response that we got from film critics," he said.

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