The Kerala High Court on Friday turned down the Centre’s appeal against an earlier order passed by single-judge bench allowing Malayalam film S Durga to be screened at the ongoing International Film Festival of India in Goa, The Hindu reported.
IFFI was inaugurated on November 20 and will continue till November 28.
In October, a 13-member selection committee had chosen S Durga – previously called Sexy Durga – for the Indian Panorama section. But the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had dropped the movie, along with Ravi Jadhav’s Nude, from the final list of films without any explanation.
Sujoy Ghosh, the committee’s chairperson, had stepped down in protest. Apurva Asrani and Gyan Correa had followed suit. Six other members of the committee then wrote to I&B Minister Smriti Irani, voicing their concerns over the ministry’s refusal to both explain its decision as well as weaken the selection norms.
On Tuesday, while hearing the petition filed by the film’s director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, the single-judge bench of the Kerala High Court had said that the film received a ‘U/A’ certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification, which made the ministry’s objection to its screening untenable.
The I&B Ministry had contended this order, saying that allowing S Durga to be screened could hamper the arrangements at the film festival, The Times of India reported. It also argued that the bench cannot hear the petition in Kerala as the film festival was organised in Goa.
In its appeal, the ministry said the name of the film’s protagonist, Durga, alludes to a “revered principal goddess in India”, The Indian Express reported. It further said the prefix “Sexy”, which was later abbreviated to “S”, could create a law-and-order situation in the country.