The decision to exclude Malayalam film ‘S Durga’ from the Indian Panorama lineup at the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa was as per Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s rules, official sources said.
The Ministry has the authority to exclude any film on the basis of an assessment that it can adversely affect law and order, the sources added.
They said the decision to replace ‘S Durga’ with a film waitlisted by the Indian Panorama Feature Film jury for IFFI was taken after taking into account various concerns.
‘S Durga’, earlier titled ‘Sexy Durga’, had also been denied permission for screening at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival in October as the Ministry had received complaints against its title and was of the view that it hurts religious sentiments.
The sources said the uniform benchmark was applied to the 48th IFFI to be held in Goa this month.
The sources said the Regional Officer at Thiruvananthapuram, who viewed the uncensored version of ‘S Durga’, had found it in violation of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) guidelines.
They said the CBFC’s Thiruvananthapuram regional office gave a U/A certification to the film on October 10 after stipulated modifications were carried out, including in the title.
Referring to Ravi Jadhav’s Marathi movie ‘Nude’, which also was excluded from IFFI, the sources said some post-production work had not been completed in the uncensored version.
The norms stipulate that whenever uncensored films are screened at a festival, permission has to be taken from the Ministry with an exemption certificate.
The sources said the National Democratic Alliance government had amended the Panorama guidelines to allow uncensored films for IFFI, something not done before.
They also said that rules stipulate that once a film is given a certification, no other version can be screened.
They said that an uncensored version of ‘S Durga’ was presented to the IFFI feature film jury, but the certification came later on October 10.
‘S Durga’ and ‘Nude’ were among those recommended by the jury for the Indian Panorama Section of IFFI.
Filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh, who led the feature film jury, resigned in protest against its exclusion.