As a filmmaker from Iran, Majid Majidi is more than familiar with the act of films being banned or censored. At the 23rd International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), the director came down heavily on people banning films. The director’s own Muhammad: The Messenger Of God (2015) was supposed to be screened at the festival but was later denied a ‘censor’ certificate and could not be shown.
The official message from the festival read, “We are unable to screen Muhammad: The Messenger Of God at 10:30 pm at Nisagandhi today as we haven’t got the censor exemption. The inconvenience is regretted.”
There was no word on whether the film will be screened later during the festival.
In his conversation with Bina Paul, artistic director of the festival, Majidi had said, “As for Muhammad, I don’t even know what is wrong. There is always politics behind it, but you can never keep everything in cages. They will eventually fly past the restrictions. I am sure the whole world will watch my film.”
During the conversation, the filmmaker also touched upon another very popular film, Children Of Heaven (1997). While the film is today considered a landmark in Majidi’s career, he was denied funding by producers when he was making it.
The director said, “Children Of Heaven was refused by several production companies. It is only a brother and a sister and a shoe, no one would watch it, they said. My friends suggested I drop the project. I never gave up. Things turned around, I found a producer who agreed to do it, but on a low budget. But then it went on to receive over 100 awards all across the world. It got translated into over 50 languages, and the entire world watched it.”
He added, “Good films should always reach the audience. They should never be termed festival films and be limited there.”