One hundred and seventy five of the leading documentary filmmakers of the country, having come together under the banner of a campaign against censorship at Miff2004, hereby announce a boycott of the Mumbai International Film Festival to be held in Mumbai in February 2004.

This follows a decision by the organisers of the festival, Films Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to introduce a clause which requires Indian documentaries entered for the festival to be censored. It should be noted that foreign films entered at the festival do not need to be censored.

Since giving notice to Films Division and the Ministry over a month ago, the Campaign has tried it's best to keep channels of communications open with them. However, except for one meeting of filmmakers with the Joint Secretary (films) and a few stray remarks by the Minister, there has neither been any progress on this nor any communication to us.

As such, we have no choice but to boycott Miff2004. This is a shame because the festival was meant to promote the best of Indian documentaries and it can hardly claim to do this while it is simultaneously trying to muzzle the voice of the Indian documentary.

It is an accepted practice world-wide that film festivals are arenas of uninhibited and creative expression. No international festival of repute censors films. It is strange that Miff 2004 now wants to do this while it managed seven previous editions of MIFF without this regulation. It is even stranger that the Minster for Information and Broadcasting, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurated the recently concluded PSBT-UNESCO film festival at Delhi where Indian as well as foreign films were screened without censorship certificates (or censorship exemptions), but the same terms cannot be applied to MIFF.

A question was also raised in the Parliament following which many parliamentarians have also protested the Miff regulations to the Ministry. However, the Ministry has not acted even on their representation.

As a follow up to the boycott call, we will undertake the following steps:

We will write immediately to leading international filmmakers worldwide asking them not to participate in the festival. Since this is a cause they all support, we see no problem in their supporting the campaign.

1. We will also write to all the international film festivals abroad asking for their support in condemning the Miff action.
2. We will seek support from different sections of civil society. Womenís groups from all over the country are supporting our campaign and we will release a joint statement of these groups in the coming days. We are also in the process of gathering support from media organisations, civil liberties and democratic rights groups.

We will soon also announce many other measures to promote the screening of documentaries in the country, and to encourage the growth of a healthier culture of public screenings.

We request you to please give due coverage to this release.

Yours sincerely,

Pankaj Butalia and Saba Dewan
91-11-26961065,26854839 26515161, (0)9810395589
with Amar Kanwar ó 91-11-26516088,26513556,(0)9810216088
Rahul Roy ó 91-11-26515161 & (0)9810395589
Sameera Jain ó 91-11-26220224 & (0)9810525985
Sanjay Kak ó 91-11-26893893 & (0)9811229952

on behalf of Campaign Against Censorship At MIFF

B-26 Gulmohar Park
New Delhi 110049

Email ó <>

List of Signatories

1. Aanchal Kapur, New Delhi
2. Aarti Bhasin, Mumbai
3. Abir Bazaz, Noida
4. Aditya Seth, Mumbai
5. Ajay Bhardwaj, Delhi
6. Ajay Noronha, Mumbai
7. Ajay Raina, Mumbai (Golden Conch winner at MIFF)
8. Amar Kanwar, New Delhi. (Golden Conch winner at MIFF)
9. Ambarien Al Qadar, New Delhi
10. Anand Patwardhan, Mumbai (Golden Conch winner at MIFF)
11. Ananya Chatterjee, Kolkata
12. Anjali Gupta, New Delhi
13. Anjali Monterio, Mumbai (Certificate of Merit at two MIFFís)
14. Anjali Panjabi, Mumbai. (Silver Conch winner at MIFF)
15. Anupama Srinivasan, New Delhi
16. Anuradha Chandra, New Delhi
17. Aparna Sanyal, New Delhi
18. Arvind Sinha, Kolkata
19. Arun Chadha, New Delhi
20. Asheesh Pandya, Gurgaon, Haryana
21. Ashok Maridas, Bangalore
22. Ashwini Malik, Mumbai.
23. Batul Mukhtiar, Mumbai
24. Bela Negi, Mumbai
25. Berkley Sanjay, Los Angeles, California, USA
26. Bishakha Datta, Mumbai
27. Chandita Mukherjee, Mumbai
28. Charu Gargi, Mumbai.
29. Charudutt Acharya, Mumbai
30. Christopher Rego
31. Daisy Hasan, Shillong
32. Daljit Ami, Chandigarh
33. Darshan Trivedi, Ahmedabad
34. Deepa Dhanraj, Bangalore
35. Deepti Seshadri, Bangalore
36. Deepu, Bangalore
37. Deepanjali D Pandey, Manila, Phillipines
38. Dhiraj Kumar, New Delhi
39. Dilip Varma, Paris, France
40. E.K. Santha, Chennai
41. Eddy Singh
42. Gargi Sen, New Delhi
43. Gauhar Raza, New Delhi
44. Gautam Sonti, Bangalore
45. Hansa Thapliyal, Mumbai
46. I.K. Shukla, Delhi
47. Jabeen Merchant, Mumbai
48. Jeebesh Bagchi, Delhi
49. Jyotsna Murthy, Bangalore
50. KP Sasi, Bangalore
51. Kapil Suravaram, Hyderabad
52. Kavita Joshi, Delhi
53. Kirtana Kumar, Bangalore
54. Konarak Reddy, Bangalore
55. KP Jayshankar, Mumbai. (Certificates of Merit at MIFF)
56. Kuttyrevathy, Chennai
57. Lalit Vachani, New Delhi
58. Leena Manimekalai, Chennai
59. Lille, Paris, France
60. Lokesh Jain, Delhi
61. Manjira Datta, New Delhi
62. Meenu Gaur, Noida
63. Meghnath, Ranchi
64. Merajur Rahman Baruah, New Delhi
65. Miriam Chandy Menacherry, Mumbai
66. Monica Bhasin, New Delhi
67. Monica Narula, Delhi
68. Namarata Tandon, New Delhi
69. Nandan Kudhyadi, Pune
70. Nandini Bedi, Mumbai,
71. Navroze Contracter, Bangalore
72. Nina Subramani, Delhi
73. Nirmal Chander
74. Oisika Chakrabarti, New York, USA
75. Pankaj Butalia, New Delhi. (Golden Conch Winner at MIFF)
76. Pankaj Rishi Kumar, Mumbai
77. Paromita Vohra, Mumbai
78. Parvez Imam, Bangalore
79. Pawan Sony, New Delhi
80. Prem Aman, Hyderabad
81. Preeti Chandriani, Mumbai
82. Priya Sen, New Delhi
83. Radhika Menon, Delhi
84. Rahman M A, Kerala
85. Rahul Ranadive, Delhi
86. Rahul Roy, New Delhi
87. Rajashree
88. Rajul Mehta, Mumbai
89. Rajiv Mehrotra, New Delhi
90. Rakesh S Katarey, Manipal
91. Rakesh Sharma, Mumbai
92. Rajani Mani, Delhi
93. Ramachandra Babu, Trivandrum
94. Ranjan De, New Delhi
95. Ranjan Palit, Kolkata. (Golden Conch Winner at MIFF)
96. Ranjani Mazumdar, Delhi
97. Rappai Poothokaren
98. Raza Haider, New Delhi
99. Reena Mohan, New Delhi (Best First Film Award at MIFF)
100. Rita Banerjee, Delhi
101. Ritu Kapur, New Delhi
102. Rosa Basanti, Delhi
103. RR Srinivasan, Chennai
104. Ruchir Joshi, Calcutta
105. Rupashree Nanda, Jaipur
106. RV Ramani, Chennai
107. S.K.Das Mollick,
108. Saba Dewan, New Delhi. (Certificate of Merit at MIFF)
109. Sabeena Gadihoke, Delhi (Certificate of Merit at MIFF)
110. Sabina Kidwai, New Delhi
111. Sachin Singh, Delhi
112. Sagari Chhabra, Delhi
113. Sahir Raza, New Delhi
114. Sameera Jain. New Delhi. (Certificate of Merit at MIFF)
115. Samina Mishra, New Delhi
116. Sanjana , Bangalore
117. Sanjay Kak. New Delhi
118. Sanjit Narwekar, Mumbai
119. Sanjiv Shah, Ahmedabad
120. Santosh Samuel , Delhi
121. Sarada Vishnubhatla, New Delhi
122. Satyajit Pande, Mumbai
123. Sehjo Singh, New Delhi (Golden Conch Winner at MIFF)
124. Shabnam Sukhdev
125. Shabnam Virmani, Bangalore
126. Shammi Nanda, Jaipur
127. Shashin Tiwari
128. Shikha Jhingan, Delh
129. Shilpi Sharma, Delhi
130. Shohini Ghosh, Delhi
131. Shoma Chatterjee, Kolkata
132. Shriprakash Prakash, Ranchi
133. Shrish Dobhal, New Delhi
134. Shuddhabrata Sengupta., Delhi
135. Simantini Dhuru, Mumbai
136. Smriti Nevatia, Mumbai
137. Sridala Swami, Hyderabad
138. Sridhar Rangayan
139. Stalin K., Ahmedabad (Silver Conch Winner at MIFF)
140. Subasri Krishnan, Delhi
141. Subhamoy Sengupta, Mumbai
142. Sudheer Gupta, New Delhi
143. Sudhir Aggarwal , Delhi
144. Sudheer Palsane, Mumbai
145. Sujit Ghosh, Lucknow
146. Sulekh, New Delhi
147. Suma Josson, Mumbai
148. Sumit Kumar
149. Sunanda Bhat, Bangalore
150. Sunil Bhatia, Mumbai , (Golden Conch Winner at MIFF)
151. Sunil Shanbag, Mumbai
152. Supavitra Babul, New Delhi
153. Supriyo Sen , Kolkata
154. Surabhi Sharma, Bangalore
155. Surajit Sarkar, New Delhi
156. Swagat Sen, Delhi
157. Uma Magal, Bangalore
158. Uma Devi Tanaku, Pune
159. Usha , Bangalore
160. Uvraj, Bangalore
161. V.Krishna Ananth, Chennai
162. Vandana Mohindra, New Delhi
163. Vani Subramanian, New Delhi
164. Vasudha Joshi, Kolkata (Golden and Silver Conch Winner at MIFF)
165. Veena Bakshi, Mumbai
166. Vijay , Bangalore
167. Vijay S. Jodha, New Delhi
168. Vijay Shanker, Hyderabad
169. Vinod Ganatra, Mumbai
170. Vinod Raja, Bangalore
171. Vipin Vijay, Trivandrum (Jury Award Winner at MIFF)
172. Virender Grewal
173. Yirmiyan Arthur, New Delhi
174. Yousuf Saeed, New Delhi
175. Zaheer A Bagh, Ladakh