After a day-long protest by a student group who favoured the fest, the university authorities said the event will start on Friday with a rider that two films- Had Anhad and Gay India Matrimony- will not be screened.
According to the university’s notice issued on February 27, the film festival was scheduled to be held from March 2 and March 4 at the main auditorium of Ravenshaw Convention Centre. An exhibition on noted filmmaker Satyajit Ray was featured.
Satyajit Ray’s masterpiece Pather Panchali is among films to be screened. When the organizers of the Cultural Council of the university reached the venue for starting the programme, they were asked not to hold the programme. Several students staged a demonstration in front of the office of the vice-chancellor of the university against the cancellation of the event.
Vice-chancellor Sanjay K Nayak declined to speak on the reasons behind the last moment cancellation. The students said the varsity cancelled it following an anonymous phone call against screening these two films.
Ravenshaw University cancels Film Fest
Dharmabrata Mohapatra, chairman of media cell and head of department of economics, Ravenshaw University, said some students had opposed the screening of some movies. There was a discussion on the issue on Wednesday. “As we have seen a violent incident in Utkal University recently, our university could not try to go ahead with the event,” he added.
Sudhir Patnaik, whose film was part of the event, said once again a particular student group put pressure on the VC to close down the Film Festival before it could begin. “I was supposed to go there. Referendum directed by Tarun Kumar Mishra was also supposed to be screened there,” he added.
Tarunsen Nayak, an alumnus of the university, said university should not succumb to the pressure because of a fringe group’s phone calls. “The university should have discussed this issue much prior to the beginning of the festival. Last moment cancellation is an insult to guests and organisers,” he added.
After students’ protest, the university authorities decided to start the programme from Friday without screening the two films.