Mumbai: The decision to axe two prominent films Sanal Sasidharans "S Durga" and Ravi Jadhavs "Nude" from the 48th International Film Festival Of India, has left the festivals selection committee in a state of shock.
"We heard of the two films being dropped around the time the press release was sent. We don't know the reasons. We have been given no reasons.
"We have written to them. Now we are waiting for an explanation," said one of the jury members on condition of anonymity.
The jury, however, gave I&B Minister Smriti Irani a clean chit.
"She wanted to do this right. She followed all the correct steps in the selection procedure. She has picked jury members and committee members herself.
"But there are powers above her that she must have had to succumb to. As you know, it is election time," said the jury member.
The jury member says there was no interference while the selection was on.
"The process was actually wonderful. No interference. They looked after us so well. The NFDC and DFF (Directorate Of Film Festivals) are a sincere lot.
"Maybe the nudity in 'Nude' rattled the I&B Ministry, this being the pre-election weeks.
"One just wishes they had removed the said films during their preliminary screening process. More than what was done, it's the manner in which it was done that belittles the jury," said the jury member.
While Snriti Irani remained unavailable for comment, a source close to the Ministry said: "These are volatile times. We can't afford to take any risks."