Stills from S Durga and Nude.
Indian Cinema

Do We Look Like We Want to Control Content, Asks IFFI Member 

The soft-spoken and articulate BJP politician Vani Tripathi Tikoo, who is not only a member of the Revising Committee of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC), but is also part of the Steering Committee of the IFFI, is not the least resentful about the stand taken by the two filmmakers Sanal Sasidharan and Ravi Jadhav.

“They are angry and upset since their films are not being shown in at the IFFI. But we who organise the festival every year, must be granted some amount of aesthetic and creative intelligence. The decision to pull out the two films is being seen as anti-democratic by some. But tell me, would we want to risk losing our global credibility as a democratic nation making free-willed cinema by muzzling two films? The Indian panorama has represented the Indian diaspora for many years now. The IFFI curates and compiles works from all across the world, bringing together the best cinematic voices. Would we want to risk looking as though we (the BJP government) are muzzling artistic freedom?”
Vani Tripathi Tikoo

According to Tikoo, the Indian government is eager to promote the cause of good cinema. “We are sincerely devoted to promoting parallel cinema or alternate cinema or off-mainstream cinema as a feasible source of entertainment in our country. That’s why we allow young filmmakers to take their bright honest fearless films to festivals across the world without a censor certification because we know the exposure to a world audience would give their films a wider audience back home as well. Do we look like an organisation that would try to control content?”

So what was the problem with S Durga and Nude?

“There were 30 films being screened. 28 of them had no problem whatsoever. Why was there a problem with only 2 films? I will tell you why. Ravi Jadhav’s Nude was submitted to us in an incomplete form. So it was rejected on technicality. As for Sexy Durga or S Durga — I am not sure of the title — it violated some CBFC guidelines. It was rejected by the MAMI festival as well. Would it have made sense for one Indian film festival to reject and the other to accept the same film?”

However, where Vani gets it wrong is that S Durga was indeed screened at the MAMI film festival in Mumbai earlier this year and it also bagged a special jury mention in the India Gold category.

Also Read: Ravi Jadhav and I Are Going to Court: Sanal Sasidharan

Tikoo does’t think the disenchantment of the two “disqualified” filmmakers to be condemnable. “They are distinguished members of the same film fraternity which our festivals want to promote. Yes, they are angry. But the voice of dissent is also an integral part of that beautiful fabric of Indian democracy. And we shall be hearing lot of the dissenting voices in the films that we’ve chosen for the panorama this year at the IFFI.”

Also Read: A Panel of Women Wouldn’t Have Pulled ‘Nude’ Out: Ravi Jadhav

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