The director of a banned Sri Lankan film has rejected government claims it seeks to insult the armed forces.
Sanjeewa Pushpakumara said the film, Flying Fish, sought to depict reality and was based on his own experiences growing up in Sri Lanka’s war zone, the BBC reported.
The film was banned on Friday after being shown at a festival promoted by the French embassy in Colombo.
A government spokesman said the film was “illegal” and used images of the army uniform without permission.
In a statement issued from South Korea, where he is based, Sanjeewa Pushpakumara denied discrediting the military and said he sought to depict reality “in a humane and artistic way”.
He denied any links with the LTTE or non-governmental organisations, and dismissed state television broadcasts which had alleged such ties.
Police are now holding what they call a “fact-finding investigation” into the film and some of its production staff have been questioned.
The distribution and screening of the film had been stopped in Sri Lanka, government security spokesman Lakshman Hulugalle, confirmed on Monday.
Sri Lanka’s official censoring body had allowed the private screening of Flying Fish. But an official from the government-owned venue walked out of the showing and denounced the film, saying it portrayed soldiers as over-sexed and also degraded women.
The venue’s board apologised to what it called the “heroic armed forces” and the general public. The French embassy regretted the “unfortunate incident”.
Sri Lanka’s Free Media Movement released a statement saying the ban demonstrated the government’s desire to “even militarise arts and culture”.
And activists have also signed a petition deploring state media criticism of a Sri Lankan writer, Gamini Viyangoda, who was accused of being a “conspirator” in screening the film.