After an uncertainty of several days, organizers of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2017 finally relented and have now written to Sanal Sasidharan, director of S. Durga to submit a censored copy of the film for consideration. The film has been stopped from further screening by the Censor Board — with hours left for the government to comply with court orders to show it at IFFI — saying the “boxes” used in his altered title gave “a different implication.”
The reference here is to the marks used by Sasidharan to mask the letters e-x-y from its original title Sexy Durga which was earlier on the orders from the censor board.
A letter from the regional censor board office in Thiruvananthapuram told the producers of the film that the date and time to “re-examine” the film will be informed later.
“We have received a complaint from the IFFI jury at Goa that the title of the film on title card is shown by the filmmaker as “S### Durga” ( where # means rectangular white boxes) which has totally different implications,” the letter from the Regional Officer said.
The letter, sent with the approval of the CBFC chairman, went on to say that the filmmaker “prima facie deliberately violated” the Cinematograph Act.
The letter said the complaint came from the jury at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) which was forced to watch the film again on the orders of the Kerala High Court after it was dropped from the Indian Panorama by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
This would mean that the film need not be screened at IFFI but may even miss the date with the International Film Festival of Kerala where it is scheduled.
Reacting to the Censor Board letter, Sasidharan said, “This is a clear intrusion into artistic freedom. This dispensation is becoming more rigid by the day.”