Anand Patwardhan and Pankaj Rishi Kumar had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court against rejection of their films from the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), which will commence from 28 January. The filmmakers have however, withdrawn the petition as they felt that the judgment would focus on the technicalities of the case.
Contrary to ANI’s report that the High Court has dismissed the case, The Quint clarified from Patwardhan that it has been withdrawn. “Pankaj Rishi Kapoor and I have withdrawn the case and we will talk about the details in a press conference today,” he said.
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
Anand Patwardhan also took to Facebook to explain in detail as to why the films were rejected. He started by saying, “BIFF which later became MIFF was seen as a celebration of the art of documentary filmmaking and art and censorship clearly did not mix. Many Indian films critical of government policies and ideologies were not only selected in MIFF but even won awards. Among them were films like Anand Patwardhan’s In Memory of Friends critical of the government’s role during anti-Sikh riots and sectarian violence in Punjab and Ranjan Palit and Vasudha Joshi’s Voices of Baliapal highlighting protests against a missile base in Orissa.”
We had to withdraw our case against Mumbai International Film FestIval in mid hearing. Press Conference today. Please...Posted by Anand Patwardhan on Monday, January 27, 2020
The filmmaker went on to add that in 2003 a censor requirement was introduced by the government who was ‘worried about the Gujarat carnage.’ However, after a massive protest, it was withdrawn.
“2020 MIFF marks a watershed in the absolute control exercised from Delhi over what is allowed at festivals. Two filmmakers, Pankaj Rishi Kumar whose Janani Juliet which won the top prize at the Kerala International Documentary Festival and Anand Patwardhan whose Reason/Vivek won the top prize at the world renowned International Film Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA) filed a petition in the Bombay High Court asking the government to show cause as to why their films were rejected from all categories at MIFF. Both these films had officially qualified for the Oscars of 2020.”
He continued, “While the case has now been withdrawn due to technical reasons we are still gathering information on other acclaimed films left out of MIFF 2020. Some filmmakers will meet the press and screen short clips on the 28th.”
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