Open forum to discuss the role of film festivals in promoting film culture, inaugurated in IFFI 2018

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Panaji : Goa, 23rd November 2018: I remember watching films of Satyajit Ray and it’s the legacy of India that has brought me here: Chin Han, Singaporean-American actor … The word Regional films should not be used anymore. These are films that need a platform and we must provide them with one: Rahul Rawail

 Day 2 of the 49th edition of the International Film Festival of India witnessed mingling of international actors and filmmakers who interacted with the media and shared their thoughts about being in the festival and their movies that made it to the festival this year.

 As much elated he was to be in Goa, Chin Han shared his delight to meet Akshay Kumar and Karan Johar at the opening ceremony with the media. “It was indeed great to meet Akshay Kumar and Karan Johar because for me if I think Bollywood, I think SRK.” Chin Han is a Singaporean-American actor who is known for his role in Master of the Sea, Singapore television’s first foray into English language. He has also been named as one of the Asia’s 25 greatest actors. He expressed his joy to see Asian faces in Hollywood even when Hollywood is not ‘the ultimate destination’ for him. “Hollywood is obviously significant but not the ultimate destination. It’s important that the whole industry moves ahead at the same time – right from the actors, to directors, designers and artists. I’m always happy to see Asian faces in Hollywood. It was good to see Priyanka Chopra in Baywatch and Deepika Padukone in XXX. India has a wealth of talent with a rich and acclaimed history of Indian cinema.”, said Chin Han who also turns 49  like the festival, in next couple of days.  Chin sounded ecstatic to be in Goa and told that being in coastal city, IFFI reminded him of Cannes.

 In other press conference here at IFFI, Deepti Sivan and Prabal Chakraborty talked about their respective films selected in the Indian Panorama section.

Decoding Shankar– a biopic on the famous singer Shankar Mahadevan is a documentary made by Deepti Sivan. “This biopic is a story that had to be told to the younger generation. It’s all about following your heart, talent and passion which I believe is personified best by Shankar Mahadevan. He is a plethora of talent and music is everything for him. Apart from AR Rahman, Shankar is the only Indian musician who has pan India presence. Not only can he sing in all genres but can compose in all styles.” According to Deepti, the biopic doesn’t tell its story chronologically. It’s told in a different pattern-through his words and his colleagues. It’s an inspiration for the younger generation because it’s all about following your passion, not just education. When you do something passionately, you do it to the fullest. While in India mainstream cinema is distributed easily, a non –feature film is not easy to distribute. Addressing the media Deepti said, “We make films out of passion. It’s our way to show the world that we are talented and yes we do exist.”

Accompanied by Deepti, Prabal Chakraborty expressed his surprise when he found that his film Sampurak had made it to the festival this year. “The funniest thing was that I found out my movie has been selected for IFFI by accident. My friend, who is a Shankar Mahadevan fan, shared to me that Deepti’s movie has been selected. When I checked the list, I was thrilled to see my film there in there.” Talking about the film Prabal described it as a rooted and Indian but he highlighted the fact that writing the script of the film was challenging. Having been into IT all these years, film making was a dream come true for this director who accepted that one must always follow the dreams. “There is nothing as rewarding as seeing your own film on the screen”, concluded Prabal.

While there were conferences doing the rounds at the festival, an Open forum was inaugurated. Organised by Federation of Film Societies of India in collaboration with the International Film Festival of India’18 and Entertainment Society of Goa, the forum aims to discuss ‘The Role of Film Festivals in promoting film culture and the need for spreading the film festival across the country.

 Present at the forum Chairman of the Feature film jury and a renowned director Rahul Rawail said, “The word Regional cinema is offensive. The various regions in India with different languages are making some content. There are brilliant films being made in different languages. To mention some, we saw a film in language Jasari which is spoken by 67,000 people only. There was a Nagamese film and film from Lakshwadeep which touched our hearts. I strongly feel that these films need to be promoted and hence at this forum I request all to create avenues for encouraging these films and allowing people to watch them as well .There are very few mediums which allow us to watch movies in different languages.”

With the presence of dignitaries and experts, open forum witnessed exchange of thoughts to encourage short films and bring the films in various languages on one single platform. Festival director and one of the speakers at the forum, Chaitanaya Prasad expressed his idea of promoting such films so that they see the light of the day. “It is a great honour for me to come speak here as a director of film festival. I think forums like these gives push to the cinema in country and I agree with the idea to bring forth various film genres on one single platform. Here in IFFI we are talking about variety, diversity, joy of cinema which needs to be shared with all. I believe that as stakeholders you all have a better understanding of films as far as we are concerned. Being the golden jubilee next year, it would be a big moment for us all, as we feel that India will open to the world.

It’s you and your valuable suggestion that makes it a lot better. We would be indebted to all you present here. I believe there would be variety of views and it matters how we put it in a bouquet of ideas.”  

Mr. Senthil Rajan, OSD, International Film Festival of India- 2018; Mr. Rajendra Talak, Vice-President, ESG; Mr Karan V Shantaram, President FFSI; Mr. Nagathihalli Chandrasekhar, Chairman-Karnataka Chalanchitra Academy, Bengaluru; Ms Marianne Borgo, French actress and Mr. Amit R Agrawal , Head Global Film Festival India, were also present at the forum. 

 Indian Panorama has some beautiful films being screened this year. Most of the film talk about the human emotions in a way that touches the heart. One such film this year happens to be a Bengali film Uronchondi. While this film talks about the human emotion of being free, it also is a film that has everyone debuting beginning from the director to the actors. It’s a film about spirit of life. On daily basis, we all get bored of our busy schedules. This film is all about setting free from the mundane life. While few people are able to take that plunge not all are privileged to live a life as they wish to. This film is all about sky, roads and nature”, said Abhishek Saha, director of the film.  Accompanied by the director were actors Amartya Ray and Rajanandini Paul who were grateful for being given the opportunity to be part of the film that took them for a different journey altogether.

 The last conference of the day was addressed by the international film makers where they talked about their respective movies.

Director of movie A TranslatorRodrigo Barrisuo stated that he never visits the festivals in the desire of getting an award. Based on the true story of his father, Rodrigo made this movie with his brother as co-director that portrays story of a Russian Literature professor at the University of Havana  who is ordered to work as a translator for child victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster when they are sent to Cuba for medical treatment.

Also present at the conference was American director, producer, actor and writer whose movie Maine has travelled to IFFI this year. “I am a heart broken man and I feel I attract heart-broken people”, expressed Matthew. According to him the movies that he has watched so far, the filmmakers around and his life is the source of inspiration.

This year IFFI has pool of amazing films doing the rounds.  With society maturing to numerous societal issues, filmmakers are encouraged to bring out stories that were once a taboo. One such film based on story of transgender is Roobha. Directed by amazing storyteller Lenin M Sivam, Roobha is based on a true story penned down by a Tamil writer. Stating that short films are his forte Lenin also discussed about how filmmaking is a difficult task. “I can express my thoughts well through short films. So when I read the book ‘Roobha’ I decided to make a film on it. Not only this addresses the issue in the society but also portrays emotions of a transgender. Along with Lenin M Siva, the actor Amrit Sandhu was present who portrays the role of transgender Roobha. “Playing a transgender was challenging but for him Roobha is someone who is just like every other human being. It’s just that their emotions never get addressed,”said Amrit.  

 The festival looks promising with array of international and national films being showcased in the next few days.

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