In Focus

'There is no such thing like an anti-national film'

A Draft Correspondent | Panjim

"The growth of regional cinema in India has been absolutely fantastic. It is making huge strides," noted Chairman of Jury, Indian Panorama (Feature) Rahul Rawail of the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

Indian Panorama jury addressing a press conference at IFFI 2018

Addressing a press conference during IFFI 2018 in Panjim, Goa on Wednesday, Mr Rawail said the day is not far when there will be no distinctive entity called regional cinema and all cinema will be referred to as cinema. Highlighting the range of films featured in the Indian Panorama section at IFFI, he said the array of selected films includes those set in Ladakh, Lakshwadeep, Tulu and Assam and it was a tough exercise to select 22 films from a list of more than 100 films which were simply great. He was joined by film-maker and Jury Member, Indian Panorama (Feature) Major Ravi and Director General, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi K.G. Suresh, both members of Feature Film Jury.

The jury of Indian Panorama (Non-Feature) was also present at the media briefing. Jury Chairman Indian Panorama (Non-Feature) Vinod Ganatra, film director and educationist Parvathy Menon and actor and director Suneel Puranic shared their perspectives on the evolving nature and timeless worth of the non-feature films.

Mr Rawail said the festival collection includes some fantastic films with brilliant content that were not previously experimented. He said the films selected were those worthy enough to showcase India on the global stage, and that content that engages the audience was given prominence.

Replying to a query the Mr Rawail asserted there is no such thing as an anti-national film and the jury considers all movies that comes before it as Indian movies. He stated that the controversy regarding omission of certain movies from Indian Panorama is unfortunate and the jury was given full autonomy in arriving at its decisions.

Speaking on the importance of highlighting movies that tend to be ignored by the market, Mr Rawail observed that the biggest mafia ruling the industry is the multiplex mafia who are not interested in the content of movies rather only in movies which helps them attract crowds. He added there is a need to develop infrastructure for distributing good films that deserve to be watched at low cost.

Mr Vinod Ganatra said with the advent of digital technology, short films with exceptional content are coming out in large number. However, he pointed out that ensuring quality is the biggest challenge for film makers as with a mobile phone in hand everybody has now become a film-maker. He said that while amateur films can be hits, it is a dangerous trend that such films are increasing. Speaking about short films Mr Ganatra said that in the age of decreasing attention spans, short films are going to take over feature films. He advised young film makers not no compromise on the script which holds the key to making a good film.

Major Ravi spoke about 18 transgender films that were considered for selection in IFFI 2018. He pointed out that the jury members took a lot of pain in selecting the best films made in the country to ensure that the Indian Panorama section presents a pan-Indian movie experience to the viewers. Mr Suresh said all jury members are satisfied with the selection of movies in Indian Panorama section and it was a very democratic exercise. He said that the increasing number of stories indicate that the Indian audience is now ready to watch and accept stories on gender-related and LGBT issues. He noted that it was very difficult to select the opening film since all the films were extremely good.

"A creator is in a way, a mother," said Ms Menon during the briefing. "It's the creativity of short film-makers that makes them stand apart from the rest," she added while pointing out that some short films with fantastic emotional content were on subjects so rare that one could never think of making a film on them. Suneel Puranic said that this year there were relatively lesser number of entries from southern states which has been contributing more in the previous years. He lauded the film-makers for their ability to experiment.

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