[Reader-list] Campaign Against Censorship at MIFF

CHATTERJEE gchat at vsnl.net
Tue Aug 5 22:29:26 IST 2003

Why can't we all sign?

A digital film 'Akrosh' has not got clearance from the govt; the British
Council B'bay was stopping it from being screened. But ultimately, there was
a strong protest from the audience; then they consulted some rule-books,
decided their premises do  fall outside such Indian rulings and screened it.
Going to B'bay tomorrow and will get more information.
Gayatri Chatterjee

----- Original Message -----
From: Shuddhabrata Sengupta <shuddha at sarai.net>
To: <reader-list at sarai.net>
Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2003 9:00 PM
Subject: [Reader-list] Campaign Against Censorship at MIFF

> 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
> decision by the government to introduce censorship requirements for Indian
> entries to MIFF.
> Shuddha
> ____________________________________________________________
> New Delhi
> 4, August 2003
> Dear Friends,
> Please find below the latest development on the campaign against
> at MIFF as also our thoughts in Delhi about future action:
> The Joint Secretary (films), Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Govt.
> 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
> 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
> the omission of some names in the earlier signatories list. Hopefully all
> names have been included in the updated list. At the press conference we
> 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
> documentaries.
> Legal action. Here we suggest that this should be a collective and
> action because that would provide us with an opportunity to raise several
> issues regarding censorship besides the immediate goal of changing the
> entry rules. We would like to quote from a recent High Court judgement in
> Anand Patwardhan case where he went to court against the 21 cuts imposed
> 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
> in the absence thereof but since the negation of it runs as an anti-thesis
> 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
> should put ourselves in a position where the full potential of the
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> censorship and the time has come for us to defend our right to freedom of
> expression.
> 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
> Rajashree
> 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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