'Controversial' Gautaman back on IFFI jury panel

PTI, PANAJI | 23 September 2014 18:23 IST

A former member of the selection committee for the Indian Panorama section in the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), who was ousted four years ago for allegedly leaking names of the selected films, has once again been appointed to the same jury for the event this year.

 Veteran film critic Gautaman Bhaskaran, who was accused of leaking results of Indian Panorama selection for the 2009 IFFI, is back on jury this time, a senior DFF official said today.

The jury, headed by renowned Oriya filmmaker A K Bir, begins their work in New Delhi today.

Bhaskaran had run into controversy after a website had carried the list of movies selected for Indian Panorama, forcing his ouster from the festival. 

The critic was sent back for violating the norms of the festival organization, which prohibits members from disclosing the selection process. 

The penalty for disclosure is debarring the person for life from the festival which is mentioned in the form signed by the jury members before taking up the assignment.

Director of Film Festivals (DFF), Shankar Mohan confirmed that Bhaskaran had been selected to the committee to choose movies for Indian Panorama for IFFI 2014, but said that the critic was not blacklisted. 

"I know about the incident which happened during IFFI 2009. But there is nothing called blacklisting in the film festival. There is no such procedure," Mohan told PTI.

The DFF Director said that leaking of information about the festival, such as selection of films, happens almost every year, considering the "aggressive media" that has been covering the event. 

"But leaking is something that we need to be careful about. They (media) manage to get a scoop. There are several things that we need to be very careful while managing our affairs," he said.

The director said that sometimes the information carried by media before the formal announcement is true, and sometimes absolutely false. 

After the leaking of the Indian Panorama selection in 2009, several filmmakers had vehemently criticized the festival for not selecting their films.

"The leaking of the information happens even with an event like the Oscars. You have lot of speculation before the actual awards are announced," Mohan said.

Mohan said the jury would finalise the list of films selected for Indian Panorama by October 20, after which they would be forwarded to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

"Then it's up to the Ministry whether to announce it in a press release or by holding a press conference," he said.

The director also said that the jury members ass

ociated with the selection process are always bereft of any contact or association with the movies that are competing. "We take written undertaking from the members that they are not associated with the movies which are taken up for the screening," he stated.

The IFFI would be held in Goa from November 20-30 this year, where China is the 'Focus' country. 

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