New Delhi: The growth of regional cinema in India has been absolutely fantastic, it is making huge strides, noted Rahul Rawail, Chairman of Jury, Indian Panorama (Feature), of the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI). He said that 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, Rawail said that the array of selected films includes those set in Ladakh, Lakshwadeep, Tulu and Assam.
Addressing a press conference during the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFF) in Panjim, Goa, Rawail said that it was a tough exercise to select 22 films from a list of more than 100 films which were simply great. Rawail was joined by film-maker and jury member (IP – Feature) Major Ravi; and K. G. Suresh, Director General, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, both members of Feature Film Jury.
The jury of Indian Panorama – Non-Feature too were present at the media briefing. Vinod Ganatra, Jury Chairman, (Non- Feature); film director and educationist, Smt. Parvathy Menon; actor and director Suneel Puranic shared their perspectives on the evolving nature and timeless worth of the non-feature films.
Rawail said that the festival collection includes some fantastic films with brilliant content that were not previously experimented. He said that 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 Chairman asserted that there is no such thing as a national film of the anti-national film; the jury considers all movies that come before it as Indian movies, he said. He stated that the controversy regarding the omission of certain movies from Indian Panorama is unfortunate and that 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, Rawail observed that the biggest mafia ruling the industry is the multiplex mafia as they are not interested in the content of the movies and only interested in movies which helps them to attract a crowd. He said that there is a need to develop infrastructure for distributing good films that deserve to be watched, at a low cost.
Vinod Ganatra, Jury Chairman, (Non-Feature Films) said that 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 filmmakers; with a mobile phone in hand, everybody has now become a filmmaker. He said that while amateur films can be hits, it is a dangerous trend that such films are increasing.
The Chairman said that in an age of decreasing attention spans, short films are going to take over feature films in a short time as many filmmakers are coming forward with beautiful content that is able to powerfully connect with audiences. Two-thirds of the non-feature movies were short films. Vinod Ganatra added that. He also pointed out that Short Films are very much helpful for those who want to get into the system of filmmaking. He advised young filmmakers not no compromise on a script which holds the key for making a good film.
Major Ravi said that 18 transgender films were considered for selection in this year’s edition. He pointed out that the jury members have taken a lot of pain in selecting the best films made in the country and have ensured that the Indian Panorama section presents a pan-Indian movie experience to the viewers.
K.G Suresh, member of Feature Film Jury said that all jury members are satisfied with the selection of movies in Indian panorama section and that it was a very democratic exercise, while there were heated debates between the members on topics ranging from cinematography to acting. He said that the increasing number of stories also pointed out that the Indian audience is now ready to watch and accept stories on gender and LGBT issues. He noted that it was very difficult to select the opening film since all films were so good and that the one which could give the ultimate cinematic experience was finally chosen.
Smt. Parvathy Menon, jury member for Non-feature Films that it is the creativity of short filmmakers that makes them stand apart from the rest. She also pointed out there were short films with fantastic emotional content, on outstanding subjects which one would not think of making films on. She added that every creator is a mother in one way.
Suneel Puranic, Member of Non-Feature Jury said that this year there was relatively less number of entries from southern states which used to contribute much in the previous years. However, he pointed out that there were some brilliant films from Bengali and Marathi languages. He lauded the filmmakers for their ability to experiment.