Anand Patwardhan also took to Facebook to explain in detail as to why the films were rejected. He started by saying, “BIFF which later became MIFF was seen as a celebration of the art of documentary filmmaking and art and censorship clearly did not mix. Many Indian films critical of government policies and ideologies were not only selected in MIFF but even won awards. Among them were films like Anand Patwardhan’s In Memory of Friends critical of the government’s role during anti-Sikh riots and sectarian violence in Punjab and Ranjan Palit and Vasudha Joshi’s Voices of Baliapal highlighting protests against a missile base in Orissa.”
The filmmaker went on to add that in 2003 a censor requirement was introduced by the government who was ‘worried about the Gujarat carnage.’ However, after a massive protest, it was withdrawn.
“2020 MIFF marks a watershed in the absolute control exercised from Delhi over what is allowed at festivals. Two filmmakers, Pankaj Rishi Kumar whose Janani Juliet which won the top prize at the Kerala International Documentary Festival and Anand Patwardhan whose Reason/Vivek won the top prize at the world renowned International Film Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA) filed a petition in the Bombay High Court asking the government to show cause as to why their films were rejected from all categories at MIFF. Both these films had officially qualified for the Oscars of 2020.”
He continued, “While the case has now been withdrawn due to technical reasons we are still gathering information on other acclaimed films left out of MIFF 2020. Some filmmakers will meet the press and screen short clips on the 28th.”