Movie censorship

Show Malayalam movie ‘S Durga’ at IFFI, Kerala HC tells I&B ministry

The Information and Broadcasting ministry has ‘no power’ to overrule the selection committee, the court rules.

Malayalam director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s S Durga, which was dropped from the Indian Panorama section of the International Film Festival of India, must be screened at the event, the Kerala High Court told the Information and Broadcasting Ministry today, according to a report on the Live Law website. The festival was inaugurated on November 20 and will continue till November 28.

S Durga, previously named Sexy Durga, was selected for the Indian Panorama section by a 13-member selection committee last month. However, the ministry dropped the movie along with Ravi Jadhav’s Nude from the final list of films without any explanation. Sujoy Ghosh, the committee’s chairperson, stepped down in protest, followed by Apurva Asrani and Gyan Correa. Six other members of the committee wrote to I&B minister Smriti Irani, voicing their concerns over the ministry’s refusal to both furnish an explanation for its decision as well as weaken the selection norms.

The ministry’s representatives told the court that the original title was offensive, and that Sasidharan had sent an uncensored version to the committee, on the basis of which the selection was made. “But the Court noted that the film had got ‘U/A’ certificate from the CBFC, and therefore the objection of the Ministry was found to be untenable,” Live Law reported. “The Court also noted that there was no substantial variance in the creative content of the movie after CBFC certification, but for the change in title as ‘S Durga’ and beeping of some expletives in dialogues. It was further held that the decision of jury was final and binding and the Ministry had no power to overrule jury selection.”

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