Deepa Mehta, director of ‘Midnight’s Children’, has said that the second screening of her film was cancelled following a demand from the distributor. “I can show an e- mail from the distributor for cancellation of the second screening at the IFFK. They wanted to save viewers prior to releasing,” she said.
Mehta refuted allegations that the film has been banned. “Don’t say the word ban, as it will cause me a heart attack,” she said as a closing remark of the ‘In Conversation’ held as part of the 17th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK 2012) at Sree Theatre here on Tuesday.
Beena Paul Venugopal, artistic director of IFFK, intervened when a representative from the media pointed out that the cancellation of the second screening was not intimated. “It was properly communicated to the delegates and I am sorry if the media did not receive it,” she said.
Mehta described the screening at Thiruvananthapuram as very important for the film. “When I e-mailed Rushdie about the response it received here his reply was ‘I love Kerala,’” she said.
“Like most of the NRIs I too was in a search of a home and this might have prompted me as director to choose ‘Midnight’s Children’ for a film. The film tells there can be things good or bad but there is hope always,” said Mehta, adding that she prefers to be known as a humanist director rather as a feminist one.
The venue was jam-packed before the programme after news spread that her film had been caught in a controversy as a section of Congress leaders had protested against the manner in which it portrayed former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. There were allegations that the second screening was cancelled following the intervention of some Congress leaders.
On Monday, Deepa Mehta had termed the IFFK as ‘an apolitical festival as it lacks any intervention from the state’. After ‘In conversation’, Mehta was escorted out of the venue by three police officials.