Documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan’s controversial film, Vivek (English title: Reason), has been cleared by Kerala High Court for screening at the ongoing International Documentary & Short Film Festival Of Kerala (IDSFFK). Patwardhan had expressed his dismay at the removal of the film from the line-up by the I&B Ministry, who reportedly stated that the film’s screening could create a ‘law & order’ situation. The Kerala State Chalchitra Academy, the board behind the festival, postponed the film’s screening to the last day and hoped to get the requisite clearances before that.
What’s Vivek About:
Vivek (or Reason) breaks down the murders of rationalist scholars like Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and Gauri Lankesh, all allegedly killed by members of Hindu extremist groups. The 4-hour documentary, for which Patwardhan has gotten worldwide acclaim and won the top prize at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam, investigates the root of these murders only to hold up a mirror to the free rein given to the Hindutva agenda, since BJP came to power in 2014.
According to a report in Hindu, the ministry had not denied an exemption to the documentary, and had merely asked for ‘a more detailed synopsis’ of the film. The report even quoted a source who said that the ‘Academy was even exploring legal options’ to ensure that the screening take place.
Kerala High Court has just cleared the screening of the film 🙂
— Myopiclenses (@myopiclenses) June 25, 2019
I&B and Censorship
Earlier in 2017, the Ministry had denied censor exemptions to three documentary films – set around the infamous JNU protests in 2016, the civilian unrest among Kashmiris and the Rohith Vemula case. Similarly in 2016, the Ministry had denied the censor exemption to a film called Ka Bodyscapes by Jayan Cherian and Muhammad by Iranian great Majid Majidi at International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK).
Patwardhan had released the documentary on YouTube in several parts, right before the 2019 elections began. Vivek (or Reason) will now be screened at the IDSFFK in its entirety without any cuts.
You can watch Vivek (or Reason) by clicking here.