Scroll.in, 30 October 2015
The organisers of this weekend's Jeevika Asia Livelihood Documentary Festival sent 35 documentary films to the Ministry of Information and Broadcast to effectively get permission for screenings. They got back 34 permissions. The one that has been left behind is Caste on the Menu Card, a 21-minute film that uses beef-eating practices in Mumbai to examine the way food and caste are intricately linked.
The Indian Express reported on Friday that the Centre for Civil Society, which organises the film festival, was told that the movie would not be given an exemption for it to be screened because of the "current political situation over the beef ban issue." The I&B Ministry however told the Expressthat it had simply not been provided with adequate information about the film.
Films screened at festivals like this usually are given an exemption from certification by the ministry, which allows them to be screened in public. According to Manoj Mathew, the festival director, this is the first time they have been faced with a situation where a film recommended by their jury has not been given this exemption. Every single one of the other films sent to the ministry was given permission. Mathew said they have approached the ministry to take a relook at the documentary.
The film was made by students of the School of Media and Cultural Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. "It attempts to portray the prevalence of caste differentiations as seen in the food choices of people in the city, and touches upon concerns related to livelihood, social inclusion and human rights," the film's synopsis reads. "By tracing the mythological and historical roots of the meat-eating culture in our country, the film discusses the hierarchy maintained by Brahminical preferences and its intended subversions."
Read the story on scroll website.