The line-up for the Naya Film Festival is getting a bit rebellious. Organised by the Taj Enlighten Film Society, the event was primarily meant to showcase first and second works of path-breaking filmmakers, apart from open discussions and special screenings in between July 15 to 31. But what most of the audience is secretly looking forward to, are two movies that the Censor Board doesn’t feel are fit for public viewing.
Though the first film, Oscar-nominated director Asvin Kumar’s Ishallah Football, managed to get itself an ‘A’ certificate, the second, Gandu, is still waiting for the necessary permissions from the I&B Ministry. Pranav Ashar, president of the Taj Enlighten Film Society, is trying his best to get the required permissions to screen the controversial Bengali film by Q.
“Even if I don’t get permission (the censorship exemption that film screenings get from the Ministry), we will screen Q’s first film, Love In India, and the band that features in Gandu will perform at the festival,” says Ashar, who at the time of going to press was awaiting the final verdict on the film, which is known to have strong sexual overtones.
Meanwhile, Kumar, whose film Little Terrorist was nominated for an Academy Award in 2004, only recently got a censor certificate after being denied the same several times. “They gave it an ‘A’ rating though there is no adult content. It’s a documentary and there is nothing vulgar about it. Basically, since they can’t ban it, they give it an adult rating,” says Kumar, who filed an RTI to find out why his film was not being given certification, and received some bizarre explanations. “They said the film portrayed the government in a negative light. I didn’t know there was a law against that.”
The documentary tells the story of an 18-year-old Kashmiri who is denied the permission to go abroad as his father was a militant. “It’s sad because the kids in the documentary will not be able to watch it as they aren’t 18,” adds Kumar, who spent months living in Kashmir to document their stories.