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HindustanTimes Fri,28 Nov 2014

No intent to hurt, Ritesh Batra tells FFI

Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 02, 2013
First Published: 16:36 IST(2/10/2013) | Last Updated: 17:58 IST(2/10/2013)

The Lunchbox director Ritesh Batra has replied to the letter sent by the Film Federation of India asking him to apologise for “demeaning a film when an eminent jury has selected it as India's entry (to the Oscars).” In his letter to FFI, Batra has written, “I just received your letter. Many industry stalwarts have made comments similar to mine but you sent the letter to me, a debutant filmmaker, but I am honoured and proud to speak for my film and team. If an apology is what you demand, you have it. Both you and the jury have my wholehearted apology.”

The controversy started after the jury appointed by FFI selected Gujarati film, The Good Road, as India’s entry to the Oscars, when people were anticipating Batra’s The Lunchbox to be the choice. Batra had then expressed his disappointment on Twitter. In the letter to Batra, FFI secretary general Supran Sen had written, “We have been hearing and reading about your various unsavoury comments either through the film industry grapevine or through your Twitter /Facebook posts about the selection of The Good Road for Oscar. As a citizen of a democratic country you have every right to express yourself, but when a certain boundary is crossed time and again, one cannot take it lying down.”

Batra replied saying, “There was no intent to hurt anyone, but rather to participate in the vigorous debate that this decision ignited in the public domain.” Meanwhile, people poked fun at the letter written by FFI. “This letter shows the current condition of FFI. Looks like it’s been written by some 11-yr-old,” wrote Raman Kumar, a user, on a blog that posted the letter.

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