Anand Patwardhan, director of the award-winning Vivek/Reason, and Pankaj Kumar, director of Janani’s Juliet and Two Flags, have withdrawn their petitions around the non-selection of their films at the 16th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF). According to a report in The Hindu, the filmmakers did so after the Bombay HC explained the limitations of its jurisdiction, saying that it couldn’t meddle into the selection of a competition conducted by a body independent from the government.
The three films had been denied selection by the latest edition of MIFF, after which the respective filmmakers filed a petition seeking redressal on the matter. However, the Bombay HC denied having any say in the matter and even mentioned that courts need not be bothered for everything.
Anand Patwardhan’s magnum-opus documentary comprises eight chapters, during which he chronicles the murders of rationalists like Narendra Dabholkar, MM Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Gauri Lankesh. It strives to closely examine an ideology that enables lynchings in the name of cow-protection, the suicide of student-leader Rohith Vemula, and the recent polarisation of the Indian society.
Janani’s Juliet examines caste, class and gender in the light of honour killings, by a Puducherry-based theatre group called Indianostrum. Two Flags is based on life and the politics in Puducherry.
Representing the Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting that organises MIFF, Additional Solicitor General, Anil Singh argued saying that the said films were scrutinised by a selection committee and had been rejected. According to the report in The Hindu, Mr Singh argued that if the aforementioned films had been rejected then there were ‘better films’ than the said films.
Patwardhan’s Vivek/Reason won the IDFA for Best Documentary Film in 2018. IDFA is widely considered to be at par with the Cannes Palme d’Or in the documentary world.