Kerala HC refuses to stay S Durga at IFFI, takes the petition on the case file

Kerala High Court division bench refused to stay the screening of Malayalam film S Durga.

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The Centre on Friday suffered a setback as a Kerala High Court division bench refused to stay a single-judge order to screen a certified copy of Malayalam film “S Durga” at the 48th IFFI in Goa. The movie’s cast implored the jury to complete the formalities at the earliest.

The Centre had on Thursday filed an appeal before the division bench.

Opposing the single-judge order pronounced this week, the Centre’s counsel pointed out that including the film at this point of time at the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI) would disturb the schedule.

However, the division bench refused the stay and took the petition on the case file.

“S Durga”, a Malayalam movie directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, and Ravi Jadhav’s Marathi movie “Nude” were controversially dropped by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry from the screening schedule of the Indian Panorama Section, despite the jury’s approval.

Hours after the Kerala High Court refused to stay its earlier order regarding “S Durga”, the movie’s actor Kannan Nayar told reporters at IFFI in Goa: “We request all jury members to be present there tomorrow to watch the movie again. I must say that you will like it again. You are the people who selected our movie unanimously.

The film’s cast has claimed that top IFFI officials had been stonewalling efforts to screen the film, despite court directions.

“I have the DCP (digital cinema package) of the censored version with me. I have the Blu Ray disc with me and I can submit it to IFFI if they ask for me. But they are not even responding, not even communicating with me right now,” Nayar told IANS.

“Delaying justice is definitely a contempt of court. But the court has ordered the jury to watch the movie again, so we are waiting for that. If they delay it again, it definitely means it is contempt of court,” Nayar said.

The organisers of the festival, including IFFI director Sunit Tandon, were unwilling to comment on the issue.

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