Two debarred from IFFI for protesting screening of ‘The Kerala Story’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Two debarred from IFFI for protesting screening of ‘The Kerala Story’

ByGerard de Souza
Nov 28, 2023 05:45 PM IST

The two delegates held placards, distributed pamphlets and reached up to the film’s director Sudipto Sen to have a ‘dialogue’ with him about the film’s content

Panaji: Two delegates from Kerala were detained by the Goa Police and later debarred from the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) on the penultimate day on Monday after they distributed pamphlets and held a protest on the red carpet condemning the screening of the film ‘The Kerala Story’ at the festival.

International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is currently underway in Goa (X photo)
International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is currently underway in Goa (X photo)

The two delegates identified as Sreenath and Archana Ravi were holding placards, distributing pamphlets and even reached up to the film’s director Sudipto Sen to have a ‘dialogue’ with him about the film’s content.

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A police officer said that the duo were first detained at the police outpost within the festival venue after they received a complaint from the Entertainment Society of Goa, which is the state agency responsible for the logistics of the festival, the and later taken to the Panaji police station where they were briefly questioned, had their mobile phones examined and allowed to leave after being asked to surrender their delegate passes.

A video of the protest was shared on Twitter.

“The International Film Festival of India is a prestigious festival which has always celebrated the lofty ideals of art, cinema and culture. However, the festival has unfortunately allowed the screening of a false propaganda movie named ‘The Kerala Story’. The movie’s story maligns a region in India known as Kerala known for its cultural diversity and communal harmony,” the duo said via the pamphlets they distributed at the venue.

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“However the movie’s story not only ignores this but directly casts aspersions on the peace loving Muslim community in Kerala,” they added.

Sen refused to engage with the duo when they walked up to him on the red carpet saying: “Have you seen the film? You have no right to talk about it unless you see the film. I will answer all your questions if you see the film.”

Protests are not uncommon at IFFI with protestors in the past disrupting the opening ceremony with sloganeering against the government.

In 2022, the selection committee faced criticism from jury head, Nadav Lapid for the inclusion of ‘The Kashmir Files’ which he called a ‘vulgar propaganda film’ that he said had no place in the international competition section of a prestigious festival like IFFI.

This year, while The Kerala Story wasn’t included in the festival competition, it was screened at the festival nonetheless sparking the protest.

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