While the festival organizers claimed Milani had left due to her father's illness and said they were unaware of any political circumstances, Iranian media reported that the real reason was the criticism directed at Milani in her homeland following the appointment of Israeli director Dan Wolman to the jury.
Milani herself did not object to Wolman's presence on the jury. "We are not politicians, and we find no problem in working together," Milani told Times of India. "Cinema is not bound by political boundaries, its appeal is universal."
But the interview led to harsh criticism against her in Iran, which likely led to her decision to withdraw from the jury and leave India earlier than planned.
Tehran Times quoted a letter Milani sent to Iranian news agency Fars after announcing her withdrawal from the jury: "Any committed individual disapproves of Israel's oppression of Palestinians and there is no doubt over my sympathy for the people of Palestine."
She said Wolman was added to the jury at the last minute instead of Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier, but that she didn't think of complaining because "none of the jury members attending the international festivals are representatives of their country…
"I still cannot believe why my presence as the jury member beside the independent filmmaker who himself disapproves of his country’s politics, had provoked such widespread criticism by some in Iran,” concludes the letter.
Eventually, however, Milani withdrew from the jury and left the festival before the closing ceremony.
The Times of India contacted Wolman, who said, "I respect her decision to leave, because I understand her situation. This is serious and I don't want to add anything to aggravate the situation."
Ynet attempt to get Wolman's reaction has not been answered so far.