Producer of a Bengali movie Chiroshakha He (My Soulmate), which depicts Rabindranath Tagore's relationship with his sister-in-law, has moved the Bombay High Court, against the film's non-selection at 38th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
The IFFI begins in Goa on Saturday. However, the High Court has not granted any immediate relief to petitioner Satish Tandon, the producer. Division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice JP Deodhar reserved the order on the petition on Friday.
The film, which revolved around Tagore's romantic but platonic relationship with Kadambari Devi, his elder brother's wife, had created controversy in West Bengal, but censor board had cleared it.
However, five-member jury which selected films for Indian Panorama section of IFFI, did not select the movie, which has been screened at many other film festivals, including recent Third Eye Asian Film Festival.
Petitioner's contention is that three out of five members of the jury were Bengali, and they shared the sentiments of those who opposed the movie, so bias was at play.
The jury, selected by Directorate of Film Festival which comes under Information and Broadcasting Ministry, comprised Manju Borah, Leslio Carlalho, Abhijit Dasgupta, Munalini Patil Dayal and Shubhra Dasgupta.
Petitioner's lawyer Mukesh Vashi alleged that not only the jury were biased, they were not even enough qualified in terms of knowledge and experience.
"Whether it is screened at Goa IFFI is not our concern, we merely want a certificate that it was selected for IFFI," said Vashi.
However Information and Broadcasting ministry's lawyer Rui Rodrigues denied that jury was biased, and said only one of them was Bengali.
He also said at this juncture -- when IFFI is set to start on Saturday-- court should not interfere.