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Kerala HC declines to stay order allowing ‘S Durga’ screening at IFFI

The high court had on Tuesday allowed a petition by the film’s director for screening of the certified version of the movie at IFFI in Goa.

regional movies Updated: Nov 24, 2017 20:57 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Kochi
Kerala High Court,S Durga,Malayalam Film
Malayalam film S Durga, directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, had been pulled out of IFFI by the I&B ministry.(File Photo)

The Kerala High Court on Friday declined to stay a single judge bench’s order allowing the screening of controversial Malayalam film “S Durga” at the ongoing IFFI in Goa but said the jury should first view the censor board certified copy and approve it.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Antony Dominic and Justice A Muhamed Mustaque gave the order while admitting an appeal by the Centre against the single judge’s order.

On November 21, Justice K Vinod Chandran, allowing a petition by the film’s director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, directed screening of the certified version of the movie in the Panorama section of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.

The order was given days after the film, selected by the 13-member jury for screening, was dropped by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on the ground that the jury had viewed the uncertified version.

Challenging the single judge’s order, the Centre filed the appeal contending that the film, though selected by the jury, had not secured the exemption as required by the Panorama regulation in the absence of certification from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

When it came up for hearing, the division bench refused to stay the order allowing the screening of the film, which narrates the horrifying experience of a hitchhiking couple.

The bench, however, clarified later in the day that the film could be screened after the jury viewed the CBFC certified copy of the film and gave its approval.

The Centre in its appeal also submitted that inclusion of the film was likely to upset the arrangements of the 48th edition of IFFI, which comes to a close on November 28.

Sasidharan moved the court after the film was dropped along with the Marathi film “Nude”.

According to him, the I&B Ministry’s decision to overrule the recommendation of the jury and pull out the two films was “unconstitutional”.

The jury had viewed the uncertified version on October 3.

A week later, the CBFC gave “U/A” certificate after the title was changed as “S Durga” and other deletions were made as ordered by it.

The director had stated that some fringe elements protested against his film, based on their misunderstanding that the original title “Sexy Durga” referred to Goddess Durga whereas the work has nothing against the goddess, or any other religious figure.

The movie has won the Hivos Tiger Award at this year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam.

First Published: Nov 24, 2017 20:57 IST