Three documentaries based on “socially relevant themes” have been denied censor exemption certificate by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, The Indian Express reported on Sunday. The ministry clearance is required for the films to be screened at film festivals.
While The Unbearable Being of Lightness by PN Ramachandra is based on Rohith Vemula’s suicide, In the shade of Fallen Chinar by NC Fazil and Shawn Sebastian is about the ongoing unrest in Kashmir, and March, March, March by Kathu Lukose explores the student agitation at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. They were supposed to be screened at International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala, which begins on June 16.
“All the films, except these three, got exemption,” said Kamal, chairman of the Chalachithra Academy that hosts the festival. “The ministry hasn’t cited any reason for denying censor exemption for these films, which are based on socially relevant themes. I think these films were denied screening permission because they deal with intolerance in the country. We have moved an appeal, asking the Ministry to consider the plea seeking censor exemption again. We are yet to get a reply.”
He said the country was going through an “undeclared emergency”. “It is a time when the rulers decide what we should eat, what we should wear and what we should talk about,” he said.
Last year, the government had similarly denied permission to Ka Bodyscapes by Jayan Cherian and Muhammed by Majid Majidi. Cherian;s film was later screened after the the Kerala High Court intervened, reported The Hindu.