Organisers of the 41st International Film Festival of India (IFFI) were in for embarrassment after irate photographers heckled a senior Press Information Bureau (PIB) official for "aesthetically spoiling" photographs by trying to take centrestage at every press briefing held at the venue.
PIB director Maushumi Chakravathy first flatly refused to vacate seats on the press briefing dais to make way for a Greek filmmakers' delegation despite repeated requests by photographers.
"I have to coordinate the press conference. You click a group photo afterwards," she said, refusing to budge from her seat. Maushumi later asked the photographer to leave the premises and never to attend the press conference venue again.
Her behaviour has irked the photographers.
"This is not the first time it has happened. She sits bang in the middle of the delegates on the podium everytime and splits the frame. We have asked her so many times to sit either at one end of the frame or stand alongside the dais," said Kailash Naik, a photographer who works for Lokmat, a Marathi newspaper.
The president of the Goa Photo Journalists Association (GPJA) said that they were officially taking the matter up with the IFFI organisers.
"Aesthetically, she spoils all pictures by sitting right in the middle of the celebrities. We are here to cover IFFI and not PIB officials. We want this ridiculous practice to stop," GPJA president Rajtilak Naik said.
The role of the both the PIB and the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF) have come in for severe criticism for slipshod organisation of the press briefings, nearly five of which are held every day.
On Thursday, a Marathi filmmaker associated with "Vihir", a film which is a part of the competition section, was forced to stand on the dais, when PIB officials refused to surrender their chair despite requests.