Award-winning director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan has withdrawn his new movie,Sexy Durga, from the International Film Festival of Kerala, to be held in Thiruvananthapuram from December 8 to 15.

The film was selected in the Malayalam Cinema Today category, along with Mahesh Narayanan’s Take Off, Dileesh Pothan’s Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, Salim Kumar’s Karutha Joothan, Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Satheesh and Santhosh Babusenan’s Maravi and Prashanth Vijayan’s Athishayangalude Venal.

The jury, comprising chairman Ramachadra Babu and members Chelavoor Venu, MG Sasi, Judhajit Sarkar and Veena Hariharan, selected Prem Shankar’s Randu Per and Sanju Surendran’s Eden as the two Malayalam entries in the competition section.

Announcing his decision to withdraw the movie, he said the Kerala Chalachithra Academy and IFFK have insulted the movie that won many international award. Sexy Durga explores misogyny and the threat to women in public spaces through the story of a runaway couple who hitch a ride.

He wrote on his Facebook page: “ I have withdrawn the film, in protest of the wilful insult from the side of the Kerala Chalachithra Academy and IFFK in putting the film which have already gained international reputation by winning multiple International awards ( Including the Hivose Tiger Award in the #IFFR) in a much insignificant corner of the festival named malayalam cinema today. This section is instituted to promote the contemporary malayalam cinema which need support. There are lot of good films, may be better films than Sexy Durga, which need such attention and support. As a film, which already got world attention, Sexy Durga doesn’t need such a consolation from the Academy. If the Academy was sincere to screen the film in the IFFK, it could have included the film in any other category as token of acknowledgment of recognitions the film already received.”

Sexy Durga has won many international awards, including the prestigious Hivos Tiger Award in the International Film Festival of Rotterdam in February this year. The independent feature is being screened at the Mumbai Film Festival in October.

Sexy Durga.