CHENNAI: Activists, independent film makers, writers, and lawyers have all rallied behind the director of Porkalathil Oru Poo, who is trying to appeal against CBFC’s refusal to grant clearance to release the film in India.
“I will be taking my film before the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) and we will proceed further after its outcome,” said K Ganeshan, who has directed the film based on the life of Isaipriya, a journalist killed during the Sri Lankan war in 2009. The CBFC refused to certify the film on the grounds that it would hurt relations between the two countries. “CBFC said that I have pictured excessive violence, that there were sequences degrading women and that it supports LTTE,” Ganeshan said.
Ganeshan criticised CBFC member S Ve Shekher and alleged that the latter questioned him whether he had “proof that Isaipriya was raped and tortured before she was killed by the Sri Lankan army” for a sequence that showed gang rape of the lead character. The film, Ganeshan said, was refused certification despite both examining and revising committees of the CBFC viewing it. “The film depicts Isaipriya’s life through ages 8-27. It begins with the lead character, her hands tied, being led away by the Sri Lankan army. What would she have thought in those moments before she met her end is what the film is about,” said Ganeshan.
Responding to the allegations, S Ve Shekher told Express that Ganeshan was being emotional and said that if a film maker claimed his movie to be based on real life incidents, then he/she ought to provide “basic proof”. “The CBFC is not an emotional place. The director had applied for certification for public screening of the film. The gang rape sequence had nudity which was morphed while the Sri Lankan army soldiers were depicted mouthing expletives against women. Even if there is proof of such incidents, when it happens over 150 times in a film, it will hurt the public,” he added.
Shekher challenged the director to screen the film for media persons and said the media can take a call on whether the CBFC’s decision was correct. “The CBFC has every right to refuse certification for a film seeking public screening if it does not adhere to its guidelines. Ganeshan depicts a map of Sri Lanka showing a separate Eelam. This is in violation of our directive which states that the sentiments of friendly nations should not be hurt and Sri Lanka is a friendly neighbouring country,” Shekher said.