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|August 29, 2001||
Bavandar kicks up a storm
Subhash K Jha
The Censor Board has just cleared the film after a long battle when Bavandar (Sandstorm) raised eyebrows again for being selected for the panorama section of the International Film Festival of India.
Sources say only films that the Censor Board certifies on or before May 31 are eligible for screening during the festival.
Bavandar, is slated for a worldwide release on October 5, and was apparently cleared on July 19.
"How has Bavandar slipped into the panorama?" a senior filmmaker asks.
Mundhra responds, "My film was cleared by the tribunal of the Censor Board on May 13. If, for some reason, the signing officer of the Censor Board took until July 19 to give me a certificate, should my film suffer?"
"I sent the tribunal's order to the festival directorate. Initially, the selection committee wasn't willing to screen my film because of the technical snag. They told me that the interpretation of the certification issue was needed from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. I sent a petition to (I & B Minister) Sushma Swaraj and I also spoke to (actress and lawmaker) Shabana Azmi about it," Mundhra says.
"Shabana pleaded my case vehemently. Finally, it made complete sense to the ministry to consider my film eligible," he says.
Incidentally, Bavandar, which has an Adults Only certification, has been chosen as the closing film at Pakistan's first international film festival to be held in Karachi from September 7.
Both the director and his leading lady, Nandita Das, will be attending the festival.
The Censor Board cleared Bavandar based on the real-life story of a Rajasthani grassroots-level social worker's gang rape, after dropping a scene showing a group of male college teachers making vulgar jokes about rape.
Says Mundhra, "I cut that dialogue deliberately. My point in that sequence was, men react sensitively to rape only when it happens in their own home."
Indo-Asian News Service
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