The HC said that the director had been denied natural justice, and that the version of the film certified by the CBFC deserved be screened.

Big win for Sexy Durga Kerala HC says film should be screened at IFFI
news Cinema Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 17:05

The makers of the Malayalam film Sexy Durga scored a legal victory on Tuesday, after the Kerala High Court directed the organisers of the International Film Festival of India to show the film as part of the festival.

The court said that the director had been denied natural justice, and said that the version of the film that had been certified by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) could be screened at the festival.

Though the film directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan had been selected by the festival jury, it was dropped from the schedule by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. Sanal Kumar had approached the High Court on Wednesday, questioning the “illegal, arbitrary and unjust exclusion” of the movie.

In his petition, the filmmaker had pointed out that the decision of the jury is final and binding according to the Panorama Regulations, and hence his film had to be included in the festival.

The I and B Ministry had contended that the film’s title, which has subsequently been changed to S Durga, had offended religious sentiments, and the festival had chosen to screen the uncertified version of the film, reported Live Law.

However, the court said that the CBFC-certified version of the film was not substantially changed from the original, other than for the change of the film’s title and the censoring of some expletives in dialogues. It therefore directed that the certified version be screened.   

Following the verdict, Sanal Kumar celebrated the decision in a Facebook post, calling it a victory for cinema and democracy.


“The removal was not the issue of just a movie or related solely to an individual, but something that could affect our democratic values and freedom of expression of all of us in the future,” he also told Mathrubhumi News.

He also said that the removal of his film and the Marathi film Nude from the festival schedule was a taint on democracy.

“The removal of Nude and S Durga, the illegal activities done to exclude the movies chosen by a 13-member jury without informing the jury or the film-makers, have all been tainting democracy. Still they had go ahead with the festival. This judgment is for everyone who believes in the freedom of expression,” he said.

Sanal Kumar Sasidharan's FB Page

The exclusion of the two films from the 48th edition of IFFI, which began in Goa on Monday, had created a huge furore last week, with director Sujoy Ghosh resigning from his position as  the Chairman of the feature film jury of the festival.

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