[Reader-list] Campaign Against Censorship at MIFF

Shuddhabrata Sengupta shuddha at sarai.net
Tue Aug 5 21:00:39 IST 2003

Dear All

Below is an update on the Campaing against Censorship at MIFF. This is 
following from earlier postings by me and by Harsh Kapur on the subject.
106 filmmakers from all over India have signed the statement protesting the 
decision by the government to introduce censorship requirements for Indian 
entries to MIFF.



New Delhi 
4, August 2003 
Dear Friends, 
Please find below the latest development on the campaign against censorship 
at MIFF as also our thoughts in Delhi about future action: 
The Joint Secretary (films), Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Govt. of 
India has called for a meeting with representatives of the Campaign. The 
meeting has been fixed for 7 August, 4:00 PM. We would request you to send in 
points/issues that should be raised in the meeting. 
A press conference has been organised at the Press Club, New Delhi on 5, 
August at 3:00 PM. We plan to release the protest letter signed by 106 
documentary film makers from all over the country. Our sincere apologies for 
the omission of some names in the earlier signatories list. Hopefully all the 
names have been included in the updated list. At the press conference we also 
plan to issue a statement, based on responses received by the Campaign, 
enumerating the possible course of action in case the Ministry does not 
remove the repugnant clause from the entry form of MIFF. As per our 
discussions in Delhi we are suggesting the following plan of action – 
An international signature campaign of film makers and festival organisers 
protesting against censorship at MIFF. 
An international campaign of film makers to boycott the festival. 
A parallel film festival in Mumbai that will screen Indian and foreign 
Legal action. Here we suggest that this should be a collective and considered 
action because that would provide us with an opportunity to raise several 
issues regarding censorship besides the immediate goal of changing the MIFF 
entry rules. We would like to quote from a recent High Court judgement in the 
Anand Patwardhan case where he went to court against the 21 cuts imposed by 
the CBFC on his film, War And Peace. The Mumbai High Court had this to say 
while deciding in favour of Anand’s petition: "
That apart, the freedom of 
speech and expression is important not merely for the consequences that ensue 
in the absence thereof but since the negation of it runs as an anti-thesis to 
basic human values, instincts and creativity. It is high time that the 
persons in authority realize the significance of freedom of speech and 
expression rather than make and allow such attempts to stifle it." We feel 
this judgement has important implications for all of us collectively and we 
should put ourselves in a position where the full potential of the statements 
of the Mumbai High Court can be utilised to garner support for the 
independent documentary. We are of the opinion that we should wait for the 
response from the Ministry before jumping into any legal redressal. This 
option needs to be well planned and thought out so as to to strengthen the 
community in the long run vis a vis censorship. The current rise of 
authoritarianism and conservatism in the country is fairly clear given the 
extreme intolerance to any criticism. We the documentary film makers might be 
the new targets of this authoritarian streak but friends from other media 
including national magazines, newspapers, the regional press as well as 
people’s movements across the country have been under vicious attack for some 
time now. The attempt to gag films at MIFF are clearly part of a larger 
emerging scenario where the documentary is being recognised as a medium that 
has the potential of revealing ‘truths’ that are uncomfortable to those in 
power or seeking power. In the coming years we will probably witness many 
more attacks on documentary film makers and therefore if ever, this is the 
time for us to respond to these challenges as a community. The Press has 
fought a bitter and hard battle from the 1950s to the 1960s to free itself of 
censorship and the time has come for us to defend our right to freedom of 
As a follow up to the earlier point we propose a major symposium in Mumbai 
during the festival on documentaries and censorship regardless of our 
participation or boycott. 
3. We request film makers to get together on an urgent basis in their 
respective cities and form campaign committees on this issue. 
We will keep you posted about the developments as they emerge at this end. 
Please find below the updated signatory list of 106 film makers supporting 
this Campaign across the country. 
In Solidarity, 
Amar Kanwar 
Pankaj Butalia 
Rahul Roy 
Saba Dewan 
Sameera Jain 
Sanjay Kak 

List of Signatories 
Aditya Seth 
Ajay Bhardwaj, Delhi 
Ajay Noronha, Mumbai 
Ajay Raina, New Delhi (Golden Conch winner at MIFF) 
Amar Kanwar, Delhi. (Golden Conch winner at MIFF) 
Anand Patwardhan, Mumbai (Golden Conch winner at MIFF) 
Ananya Chatterjee, Kolkata 
Anjali Gupta, New Delhi 
Anjali Monterio, Mumbai (Certificate of Merit at two MIFF’s) 
Anjali Panjabi, Mumbai. (Silver Conch winner at MIFF) 
Anuradha Chandra, New Delhi 
Aparna Sanyal, New Delhi 
Arvind Sinha, Kolkata 
Asheesh Pandya, Gurgaon, Haryana 
Ashok Maridas, Bangalore 
Ashwini Malik, Mumbai. 
Batul Mukhtiar, Mumbai 
Bishakha Datta, Mumbai 
Chandita Mukherjee, Mumbai 
Charu Gargi, Mumbai. 
Christopher Rego 
Daljit Ami, Chandigarh 
Deepa Dhanraj, Bangalore 
Deepu, Bangalore 
Eddy Singh 
Gargi Sen, New Delhi 
I.K. Shukla, Delhi 
Jabeen Merchant, Mumbai 
Jeebesh Bagchi, Delhi 
Jyotsna Murthy, Bangalore 
Kapil Suravaram, Hyderabad 
Kavita Joshi, Delhi 
Kirtana Kumar, Bangalore 
Konarak Reddy, Bangalore 
KP Jayshankar, Mumbai. (Certificates of Merit at MIFF) 
Kuttyrevathy, Kerala 
Lalit Vachani, New Delhi 
Manjira Datta, New Delhi 
Meghnath, Ranchi 
Monica Narula, Delhi 
Nandan Kudhyadi, Pune 
Navroze Contracter, Bangalore 
Pankaj Butalia, New Delhi. (Golden Conch Winner at MIFF) 
Pankaj Rishi Kumar, Mumbai 
Paromita Vohra, Mumbai 
Parvez Imam, Bangalore 
Pawan Sony, New Delhi 
Preeti Chandriani, Mumbai 
Rahul Ranadive, Delhi 
Rahul Roy, New Delhi 
Rajul Mehta, Mumbai 
Rakesh S Katarey, Manipal 
Rakesh Sharma, Mumbai 
Ranjan De, New Delhi 
Ranjan Palit, Kolkata. (Golden Conch Winner at MIFF) 
Ranjani Mazumdar, Delhi 
Rappai Poothokaren 
Reena Mohan, New Delhi (Best First Film Award at MIFF) 
Ritu Kapur, New Delhi 
RR Srinivasan, Chennai 
Ruchir Joshi, London, UK 
Rupashree Nanda, Jaipur 
RV Ramani, Chennai 
S.K.Das Mollick, 
Saba Dewan, New Delhi. (Certificate of Merit at MIFF) 
Sabeena Gadihoke, Delhi (Certificate of Merit at MIFF) 
Sabina Kidwai 
Sameera Jain. New Delhi. (Certificate of Merit at MIFF) 
Samina Mishra, New Delhi 
Sanjana , Bangalore 
Sanjay Kak. New Delhi 
Sanjit Narwekar, Mumbai 
Sehjo Singh, New Delhi (Golden Conch Winner at MIFF) 
Shabnam Virmani, Bangalore 
Shashin Tiwari 
Shohini Ghosh, Delhi 
Shoma Chatterjee, Kolkata 
Shriprakash Prakash, Ranchi 
Shuddhabrata Sengupta., Delhi 
Simantini Dhuru, Mumbai 
Sridhar Rangayan 
Stalin K., Ahmedabad (Silver Conch Winner at MIFF) 
Sudheer Gupta, New Delhi 
Sudheer Palsane, Mumbai 
Sujit Ghosh, Lucknow 
Sumit Kumar 
Sunanda Bhat, Bangalore 
Sunil Bhatia, Mumbai , (Golden Conch Winner at MIFF) 
Sunil Shanbag, Mumbai 
Supavitra Babul, New Delhi 
Supriyo Sen , Kolkata 
Surabhi Sharma, Bangalore 
Surajit Sarkar, New Delhi 
Swagat Sen, Delhi 
Usha , Bangalore 
Uvraj, Bangalore 
Vani Subramanian, New Delhi 
Vasudha Joshi, Kolkata (Golden and Silver Conch Winner at MIFF) 
Veena Bakshi, Mumbai 
Vijay , Bangalore 
Vinod Ganatra 
Vinod Raja, Bangalore 
Vipin Vijay, Trivandrum (Jury Award Winner at MIFF) 
Yousuf Saeed, New Delhi 
Zaheer A Bagh, Ladakh 

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