The Managing Director of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), which organised the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa, has been relieved of his charge by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Ravinder Bhakar continues to be the chief of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
According to a Ministry order issued on January 11, the interim charge of NFDC was handed to Prithul Kumar, Joint Secretary (Films), with immediate effect. Kumar will retain the charge for six months or till a full-time MD is appointed. The 2000-batch IRTS officer is currently on deputation in the I&B Ministry for five years.
At the latest edition of IFFI in November 2022, Israeli filmmaker and jury member Nadav Lapid had criticised the selection of The Kashmir Files openly on the stage. On the event’s closing day in Goa, Lapid had described the film as “propaganda and vulgar”, and that he was “shocked and disturbed” by its inclusion in the competition section.Lapid delivered his remarks before a number of dignitaries including Union Minister Anurag Thakur.
Bhakar, an Indian Railway Stores Service (IRSS) officer from the 1999 batch, was given the additional charge of NFDC in December 2021, in addition to key roles as director-general of Films Division and CEO of the Children’s Film Society of India. With this, he assumed command of the Ministry’s film-related departments based in Mumbai. Bhakar is a mechanical engineer who graduated from MNIT in Jaipur.
The Films Division, National Film Archive of India, and Directorate of Film Festivals were merged with NFDC late last month as part of the government’s effort to unify its various film bodies. According to a source, with a Ministry Joint Secretary now in charge of NFDC, the government hopes to better streamline and control its operations.