Directors Sanal Sasidharan and Ravi Jadhav React To Their Films Being Pulled Out Of The IFFI

Director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan is very angry and dejected with the cursory way his film SDurga, earlier titled Sexy Durga, has been pulled  out  of  the 48th International Film Festival Of India.

Speaking  exclusively  to this  writer Sanal says, “Basically it comes down to one lady deciding that my  film  is  not to be screened. I was not even informed  about the change  of  plan. I just read  that my film and Ravi Jadhav’s Marathi   film Nude have been  pulled out. I  didn’t even get an  email informing me of  the change. Is this what  we  independent  filmmakers have been reduced to in this country?”

It was bad enough  that  Sanal had  to  change his film’s title  under  pressure from the CBFC. “I cannot understand how my title insults our religion  if I called my film SexyDurga.  The  CBFC said, change  the  title  or I won’t get a  certificate. So I took the option  of  changing the title. Little  did I  realize that  it was  not the end of my problems.”

Sanal feels  the  Government  needs  to  take  a long hard  look at  its policies regarding cinema in  this  country. “There  is fascism all around us. Look at  what  is happening toSanjay Leela  Bhansali’s  Padmavati.In the case of my film and Ravi Jadhav’s  Nude the decision to pull put our films out must be based on the  stupid assumption that  our films  contain  sex and nudity.No one bothered  to check or verify what we have actually made.Unless we control these fascist elements we will cease to be eligible to be known as a democracy. The  irony of  pulling my film out of an Indian film festival is that this move comes  after my film has won awards at international  festivals.The Indian government is  entitled  to serve  up a stipend of Rs 10 lakhs for any Indian film that wins awards  abroad. I never applied for that stipend because I knew somewhere down the line my film would be pulled down by my own people.”

And now Sanal finds  it difficult to release  his film in Kerala. “The distributors are  afraid , very afraid.They don’t want to  touch my film.I don’t know  how independent  filmmakers  like me can survive  in  this country.”

Ravi Jadhav whose  Marathi film  Nude has been pulled  out  of the  IFFI at  the last moment can’t stop laughing at  the irony of  the situation. “They have humiliated not just me by pulling out my film and Sanal’s S Durga. They’ve humiliated all the  15 jury members who are learned important people  who took time off from their busy schedules  to  watch more than 30 films.Then they chose  our films…only to have their decisions upturned.  If their decision was  not important why appoint a  jury in  the  first place? Why  humiliate them in  this way?”

Ravi feels  his film’s title did it in.  “My film is about a  model who poses in  the nude. So I titled it Nude. I was thinking of calling it by the Marathi word  for  ‘nude’ which sounded far more suggestive.So I picked the more sober English title ‘Nude’. Not  sober enough,  I guess. Someone just decided my film is vulgar and not worthy of  being shown at  the IFFI.  Ironically all my earlier films have been screened at  the IFFI.”

Ravi now intends  to  screen  Nude  at international film festivals. “I’ve made a good film. And  I can’t allow this setback to depress me. To be honest, I find it funny.”

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