Centre denies permission to screen films on Rohith Vemula, JNU, Kashmir at Kerala Film Fest
Three short films, including a 45-minute documentary on Dalit scholar and PhD student Rohit Vemula, who ended his life, have been denied permission by the Centre to participate in the International Documentary and Short Film festival, starting in Thiruvananthapuram from 16 June.
The Unbearable Being of Lightness, a documentary about Hyderabad Central University student Rohit Vemula, who allegedly committed suicide; In the Shade of Fallen Chinar, about the lives of a group of young Kashmiri artists who are also students; March March March on the JNU protests were not granted permission by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to be screened at the festival, the organisers said.
Expressing anguish over denial of permission, Kerala Chalachitra Academy chairman and festival director Kamal said there is a 'cultural emergency' prevailing in the country. "We are going through an undeclared emergency in the country. What we should eat, what we should wear, what we should talk all this is being decided by the ruling dispensation," he told reporters.
Kamal said the process followed in this festival is that once the films are selected to be screened, then they look if the films have a censor certificate. "What we do as organisers is, then we apply for an exemption to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for all those films that do not have a censor certificate. In all, at the five-day festival which is starting on 16 June, there are 210 films, of which around 170 films did not have the censor certificate," said Kamal.
He said that he has been told that this is the first time in the history of this festival that films have been denied the exemption. "We were surprised that all but these three films got the exemption," added Kamal.
At least 262 short films and documentaries are expected to be screened at the five-day festival, vice-chairman and artistic director Bina Paul said. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the festival at the Tagore Theatre on June 16.
"Now the only way out is for the director or the producer to approach the legal system," Kamal said.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI)