Bombay HC dismisses Anand Patwardhan, Pankaj Kumar's petition after MIFF fails to screen their documentaries
A division bench directed the Union government to share details behind the processes followed by the selection committee of MIFF
Filmmakers Anand Patwardhan and Pankaj Kumar had filed petitions at the Bombay High Court against the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) after their documentary films were not selected for screening. Asian News International reports that the court has now dismissed these petitions.
Patwardhan’s Vivek/Reason and Kumar’s Janani’s Juliet and Two Flags failed to be part of the final movies being screened at the ceremony which begins on 28 January.
The petition stated that the common element between the two non-selected documentaries "is that they are critical of the current political dispensation and/or critical of the political philosophy that they claim to espouse," reports The Indian Express.
Here is ANI's tweet
Bombay High Court dismisses petition filed by filmmakers Anand Patwardhan and Pankaj Kumar against Mumbai International Film Festival for not selecting their documentary films for screening in the festival. pic.twitter.com/ALx5cJ3GBX
— ANI (@ANI) January 27, 2020
They had also alleged that such ambiguous processes which surmount to removal of voices of dissent in MIFF points towards clear malafide use of discretionary power.
Senior counsel Mihir Desai, representing the petitioners, stated that two of the three films had been shortlisted as entries to the Academy Awards and that film festivals such as MIFF were crucial platforms for such documentaries.
A division bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice RI Chagla on Friday directed the Union government to openly come out with details behind the processes followed by the selection committee of MIFF while rejecting the filmmakers' works.
Check out this post on Janani's Juliet
— The News Minute (@thenewsminute) October 3, 2019
Check out this post on Anand Patwardhan's film Vivek/Reason
Speaking out may put us at risk, not speaking out will kill the soul: Anand Patwardhan on his latest film, “Vivek” https://t.co/ho2PG2ZYxi via @thecaravanindia — Audrey Truschke (@AudreyTruschke) April 10, 2019
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh and advocate Advait Sethna, representing the Films Division and the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, claimed that the directors could not move court just because their works were not part of the final festival.
A further hearing on this case will be held on 27 January, a day before the festival commences.
The five-day festival is organised by Films Division of the ministry.
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