After the recently concluded Jio Mami 18th Mumbai Film Festival, the International Film Festival of India (Iffi) will also follow suit and not screen any Pakistani film at its 47th edition this month. However, the festival director claims that the reason for doing so is because the two entries from the other side of the border were “not up to the mark”.
According to a report by BollywoodLife.com, Directorate of Film Festivals' Senthil Rajan addressed the issue at a press conference held in Goa on Tuesday, 1 November. “We are not screening any Pakistani film this year. We had received two entries from Pakistan, but our film committee felt those films were not up to the mark,” said Rajan.
He added that he was unaware of the names of the films but he confirmed that they were not shortlisted. As many as 1,032 entries from 102 countries were received. Out of those, 194 films from 88 countries were shortlisted for the screening. However, neither of the two films from Pakistan made it to the final list.
Had it happened, it would not have been the first time for Iffi to screen a Pakistani film. In 2007, Khuda Kay Liye was the first Pakistani film to be screened at the 38th edition of the prestigious film festival. Filmmaker Jamshed Mahmood Raza’s Pakistani film Moor was screened at the festival last year.
The trend of reducing cinematic ties with Pakistan started after 19 Indian soldiers were killed in the Uri attacks in September. In the aftermath of the attack, the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association passed a resolution banning all Pakistani artistes and technicians from working in Indian films until bilateral tensions eased.
Zee followed that up by taking all Pakistani shows on its channel Zindagi off air. The Raj Tahckeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena escalated the issue when they threatened to vandalise theatres that screened films with any Pakistani artistes. The controversy grew so heated that Mumbai Film Festival director Anupama Chopra also announced that they would not screen the Pakistani film Jaago Hua Savera that had been shortlisted for the 'Restored Classics' section.
It may seem that Iffi is just following the trend even though they claim fair competition as the reason behind not screening the two films from Pakistan.
The 47th edition of Iffi will be held from 20-28 November in Goa.