Two delegates from Kerala, Archana Ravi, an illustrator, and Sreenath, a documentary filmmaker, were reportedly detained at the Panaji police station for an hour on Monday for peacefully protesting against the screening of Sudipto Sen’s controversial film, “The Kerala Story,” at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.
The film, accused of disseminating misinformation and targeted propaganda against Muslims, has sparked controversy since its release on May 5, 2023. Archana Ravi and Sreenath brought with them copies of memes mocking “The Kerala Story” and ‘fact kits’ containing data debunking several claims made in the movie. The memes featured an awkward puppet monkey with the caption “Sudipto Sen: The Kerala Story, Source: Trust me bro!”
During a red carpet interview of Sudipto Sen, the delegates distributed the memes among other attendees. Sudipto Sen reportedly initiated a verbal argument with them, leading to police intervention. The protesting delegates shared their experience on social media, expressing concern about the restriction of dissent and the potential creation of a police state.
Sreenath posted on Twitter around 6:30 pm on Monday, stating that the police detained them and confiscated their IFFI delegate passes, effectively barring them from the festival. Archana Ravi emphasized that their protest aimed to mark dissent against a propaganda movie and expressed worries about potential false cases being filed against them.
In an Instagram live video, the delegates explained their stance, highlighting their opposition to “The Kerala Story” as a propaganda film against the people of Kerala and minorities. They emphasized the importance of standing up for the truth and resisting hate, despite facing opposition from the police.
This incident adds to the ongoing discussions about the role of controversial films at film festivals and the boundaries of dissent within such events.
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