High Court stays Goa film fest's selection

NEW DELHI: Even as the Kerala High Court today stayed the publication of the results of the selection of the Indian Panorama for the International Film Festival of India in Goa next month, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry was tight-lipped on the plea that it had not received any order so far.

A Ministry official who refused to be quoted told that in any case, it would be premature to comment as the matter was sub judice. However, the source said Court orders would be obeyed and any further action will only be taken after legal advice.

Directorate of Film Festivals sources also repeated the same line, adding that the matter was now pending with the Ministry as the report had been submitted to Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.

A member of the jury who did not want to be named admitted that there had been some objections by prominent members to others remaining absent for long duration during the screenings.

Meanwhile, in the petition before Justice P N Ravindran of the Kerala High Court, film director Ranjith said that a film critic who was a member of the jury had posted a comment on a private website announcing the results. Noting that there had been no official announcement, Ranjith indicated that all is not well with the selection process.

The petitioner sought a direction to the Ministry to conduct an inquiry into the selection process immediately with particular reference to leaking of the results by a jury member and to conduct the selection process afresh.

The jury was chaired by filmmaker Muzaffar Ali and included Raja Mitra, Bobby Bedi, J Mahendran, Joseph Pulinthanananth, Leslie Carvalho and Gautaman Bhaskaran.

Ranjith has sought a direction from the I&B Ministry to conduct an inquiry into the selection process and how the leak took place, with one of the members itself leaking out the results before the official briefing!

Ranjith also alleged that some of the best Malayalam films of the year - Pazhassi Raja, Brahmaram, Rithu, Sufi Paranja Katha, Thalapavu and two films directed by him (the critically acclaimed Thirakatha and yet to be released Kerala Café) which were sent for the Panorama selection - was rejected.

Only two films from Kerala have been chosen: Shaji.N Karun’s Kutty Sranku and veteran cameraman Sivan’s Keshu.

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