The student body and the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Wisdom Facebook page on Thursday, posted how the administrators of the institute had cancelled the screening of a documentary film called ‘Hora’ directed by a student of theirs named Harishankar Nachimuthu.

ABVP Threat, FTII administration cancells the student's documentary screening project. The director Mr. Bhupendra…

FTII Wisdom Tree यांनी वर पोस्ट केले बुधवार, ५ सप्टेंबर, २०१८

According to them, this was done due to security concerns after receiving multiple threats from members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

The director, posted on his Facebook and said that,

Friends and comrades my documentary screening HORA has been cancelled by the institute citing security reasons. But from inside sources which I can’t reveal due to their jobs being at stake I’ve got to know that the registrar had got a message from a journalist telling how such a provocative film can be screened (neither registrar nor that sanghi journalist would’ve not seen the film as this is my first public screening).

And also I’ve got to know that the sangh lumpen organisation ABVP goons ve called this a maowathi film and they threatened the institute that they will repeat their traditional behaviour of vandalism and violence.

Yes this film is about an artist who is part of Kabir Kala Manch. But neither that organisation or their performance which I had covered no where banned and my film was produced by institute under the norms and have been approved by my academic mentors. But the bureaucrats working for sangh parivar going to an extend of asking the faculty why such a film was not censored without even watching. 

The news is the film is not happening today and I’ll let u know guys about the future course of action. Thanks for the love and overwhelming response for the film which had provoked the sangh goons.

Friends and comrades my documentary screening HORA has been cancelled by the institute citing security reasons. But from…

Nachi यांनी वर पोस्ट केले गुरुवार, ६ सप्टेंबर, २०१८

What Is The Problem With The Film’s Subject?

The 23-minute documentary, by Nachimuthu, who was also the former President of the FTII Students’ Association (FSA) is based on the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) who are allegedly a Dalit and working-class group that uses protest music in their performances to talk about the various issues that society and they have to deal with.

It is being said that the controversial subject matter of film, is the reason behind the threats. As per reports, some members of the KKM have been alleged to have connections with Maoists and this is what raised objections against the documentary.

But the director, Nachimuthu has clarified and said that, “It is not on the Manch, but about an artist from the group and how she looks at the Ambedkarite movement.”

Read More: Ramjas vs. ABVP Made Delhi University Wake Up To Life & Freedom: We LivED It!

Security Can Be Dealt With?

If we go according to the circular issued by the FTII, they cancelled the screening due to security reasons, but those can also be dealt with.

As per the FTII Wisdom Tree Facebook page,

When the 2008 batch diplomas were to be assessed as is where is basis, the admin had got police men standing outside the Main Theatre to keep us away from our own films’ assessment. Now, when #ABVP, the right wing outfit which had once attacked #FTII students for screening Jai Bhim Comrade, issues a threat, why don’t the admin and the director Mr Bhupendra Kainthola ask for police protection?

What FTII Is Saying

FTII, on the other hand, is saying something very different as to why the screening of the film was cancelled.

According to reports, the FTII Director Bhupendra Kainthola said that it was because the film did not have a censor certificate and they were not given advance notice about the premier and thus the theatre was not booked for the screening.

The documentary was supposed to premiere on Thursday evening at the Main Theatre on the institute’s campus.

Kainthola stated that, “Mr. Nachimuthu did not give any prior requisition to book the Main Theatre for the screening of his documentary. The first screening of a student’s film is normally only for internal viewing and assessment, and not for general public, as various pre-requisites like CBFC (censor board) certificate, logistics etc have to be met before outside public is invited for screening.”

Kainthola on the matter of the screening being called off due to threats said that it was, “In this case, Mr. Nachimuthu invited outsiders for the screening without intimating us. He publicised the screening schedule on social media keeping the authorities in the dark. As the film does not have a CBFC certificate, the institute had not scheduled the screening. The allegation that FTII cancelled the screening under pressure from a particular organisation is so preposterous and baseless that replying to it would lend it dignity.”

For their part though, in a statement to PTI, ABVP denied any knowledge of this and said that, “We are not aware of this issue.”

However, an ex-student of FTII, Prateek Vatts, commented on this whole issue by saying,

As an ex-student and a visiting faculty, for me, it’s not as much about FTII and ABVP as much as it is about the FTII admin citing flimsy concerns like censor certificate to stalk the screening. Let’s not forget that it’s a student exercise which needs to be screened. If there are threats then Pune Police and FTII admin should ensure the safety of students and institute property instead of victimising a student. This is unprecedented and the conduct of the director needs a serious explanation. 

What’s the next step- bar students from making films on certain issues?

Never ever had this happened. This needs to be called out.

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: The Hindu, Business Standard, Times of India

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