Mumbai Director Shazia Iqbal says her film has been dropped from the line-up of the 20th Jio Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) Mumbai Film Festival as its producer is Anurag Kashyap.
Iqbal is heartbroken as the film was to have its world premiere at the gala. She has penned an open letter to the film festival’s organisers for an explanation.
“My film was dropped by Mumbai Film Festival because Anurag Kashyap is my producer. This is an open letter to MAMI board members seeking answers for dropping my film and questioning their own integrity,” Iqbal wrote.
In the letter, she wrote: “I was told over a phone call that my film ‘Bebaak’ will be dropped from the festival programme because one of the producers is Anurag Kashyap. I was not told, but was supposed to understand, that since he is accused of ‘being complicit’ in a sexual harassment case (one of the partners at Phantom Films Vikas Bahl is accused of sexually assaulting a woman), our film has been disqualified.”
“Let me clarify that Anurag is one of my two producers. The other is Ajay Rai of Jar Pictures. And the film is independently produced by both,” she added.
When IANS reached out to confirm whether the film had been dropped, MAMI officials said in a statement: “It is a tough time for the film industry and our hearts go out to the filmmakers whom we may have disappointed by our decision to not screen their films at this edition.
“However, at MAMI we are in solidarity with #MeToo, and we stand by our decision because there is a larger movement that has begun. We request understanding from the filmmakers and the many people involved with making these films.”
Earlier, the festival organisers dropped two films — Rajat Kapoor’s “Kadhakh” and All India Backchod (AIB)-produced “Chintu Ka Birthday” — as their names emerged in the #MeToo movement. Rajat and members of AIB were accused of sexual harassment.
Kashyap also stepped down as one of the board members of the festival’s organising committee.
On October 10, he had tweeted: “In the light of the current events, I have decided to step back from my duties as a board member from MAMI until the shadow of doubt of our alleged complicitness in silence and not doing anything about it, is cleared.”
The 20th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star will be held in Mumbai from October 25 to November 1.