IFFI steering committee member Vani Tripathi Tikoo has questioned filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh over mailing his resignation as the head of the jury of the Indian Panorama Section of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) to the media, instead of discussing the matter with the ministry.
Vani also asserted that the independence and democracy of IFFI has never been compromised.
"I have been part of the steering committee for over the last four years and I can say this with confidence that not one person has ever picked up the phone and told us what to do. The independence and the democracy of the festival has never got and will never get compromised," Vani said in a statement.
Ghosh resigned as head of the jury to protest the decision to exclude "S Durga" and "Nude".
The 13-member jury, led by Ghosh, had reportedly included both the movies in their recommended list, but they did not find their way in the list passed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Talking about the issue, Vani said: "I also want to ask Mr Sujoy Ghosh that if he had such a big issue then why is he sitting outside the country mailing his resignation to the media? Why didn't he pick up the phone on the ministry?
"At the end of the day its very simple... the government has used its discretion and it has used its absolute power to do so."
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar also gave a clarification on the issue, by saying that: "Films 'S Durga' and 'Nude' were dropped from the screening schedule at the upcoming IFFI's 'Indian Panorama' section because the former was submitted without cuts and the latter was incomplete."
Vani said that all the "films that are being screened at IFFI go through the ministry".
"The government has not done anything out of bound. 'Nude' was an incomplete film and so it came with a rider...it came with a rider from the jury and it came with a rider to the ministry and this rider was exercised as it was an incomplete film and an incomplete film cannot go into the public exhibition space for a festival.
"As far as 'S Durga' is concerned, it did not comply with the norms of the censor board and also faced issues with approval at MAMI. How can the ministry be hypocritical and disapprove the screening of a film at one festival but screens it at its own festival?"
Vani, who is also a member of Central Board of Film Certification, stressed: "IFFI is a government festival and we have to respect the fact that the government has to be sensitive and look at the larger picture, as far as the exhibition of content and reaction level is concerned."
IFFI will be held from November 20-28 in Goa.