Filmmaker Siddharth Chauhan took to social media to protest the cancellation of the screening of his film by IIT Mumbai at their film festival, which concluded today. Here’s what he said :
IIT Mumbai has refused to screen my film PASHI – because of it’s adult (homosexual) content! I am shocked and taken aback to know about the regressive stand which they have taken against my film. This is absolutely unacceptable and something where I need all your support.
An educational institution like IIT Mumbai first approaches me to screen my film at their Film Festival which is being held tomorrow and day after (8th & 9th Feb, 2019). They chased me for days seeking permission and after all the discussion, they finally decide to NOT screen the film.
They didn’t even bother to inform me about this knowing that I won’t be attending the screening of the film. I found this out from a Team member when i messaged him to ask about the Screening Schedule for my film as my films Lead Actor was interested in attending the film screening.
They feel that my film will make the audience feel uncomfortable. I don’t get it! The only reason I agreed to screen the film was because it was a film festival and I believe a film festival is supposed to celebrate individual voices and independent cinema. I have screened the film before in Delhi University where teachers and students together watched the film and no one felt uncomfortable! If at all it has only triggered some of the most wonderful discussions about consent , sexuality and human needs. This is ridiculous.
Pashi premiered at the Rhode Island International Film Festival 2017 and since then has travelled to more than 30 International Film Festivals and won 7 International Awards including Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Actor and Audience Choice Award.
Surprisingly one of their speakers happens to be Onir (an award winning filmmaker & speaker – who’s films have dealt with LGBT themes) and they are screening a film which shows a girl masturbating on screen! They are neither objecting to it nor does it make them feel uncomfortable!
It’s clear that they wanted to keep me uninformed and what makes them uncomfortable is some nudity, films homoerotic theme and a love making scene which many critics and fellow filmmakers have appreciated and celebrated – as one of the ‘most aesthetic’ love making scenes.