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IFFI 2017: S Durga director petitions Kerala HC, jury member Gyan Correa resigns

The petition alleges that the ministry 'arbitrarily vetoed' the jury's decision and dropped the film 'without notice' from the roster. 

Our Correspondent

Director Sanal Sasidharan, whose film S Durga was dropped from the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) roster, has filed a petition in the Kerala high court against the information & broadcasting (I&B) ministry and the officials of the IFFI festival.

Sanal's S Durga and Ravi Jadhav's Nude were dropped from the festival roster, despite having been selected and approved by the festival jury. The decision was reportedly taken by the I&B ministry. In response to this decision, director Sujoy Ghosh resigned as the chief of the Indian Panorama section. Other jury members, Apurva Asrani and Gyan Correa, have also reportedly submitted their resignation. 

Sanal has now filed a petition in the Kerala high court suggesting that the decision by the I&B ministry was 'without notice' and 'without reason'. The petition reads, "The decision is totally illegal and erroneous, and has caused prejudice to the petitioner. The petitioner’s film, which has won international accolades, has been deprived of opportunity of screening in the prestigious IFFI, due to arbitrariness." 

S Durga won the Hivor Tiger at the Rotterdam Film Festival earlier this year, as well as being awarded the Special Jury prize in the India Gold section at the recently concluded MAMI film festival. 

In a quote to News18, Sanal said, "The censor board is absolutely okay with the film and they told me nothing. They have not asked me to cut a single frame from the movie. They liked it so much. They, in fact, said it is the film which should be shown to all people." 

The film ran into trouble with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on its initial release due to its title 'Sexy Durga'. However, after the director opted for the change to S Durga, the board passed the film with a U/A certificate. 

The director also said that his mail to the I&B ministry requesting an explanation for the decision has gone unanswered. 

News daily, The Hindu, quoted a senior official of the ministry saying that 'due process' was followed in the exemption of the films. 

IFFI 2017 is set to begin on 20 November and concludes on 28 November in Goa, India. 

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