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India News

Film Festivals in the times of Padmavati

Indrani Thakurata

Bangalore is gearing up to host its 10th edition of BIFFES, the Bengaluru International Film Festival from February 22 –March 01, 2018 at Bengaluru. The festival is being organized on behalf of Government of Karnataka by Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy and Department of Information and Public Relations. The opening event will be held in the presence of National and International delegates, Filmmakers and Film Celebrities in Bengaluru on February 22, 2018. “Film Festivals are a great way to encourage filmmakers, technicians, academicians to; make more of them, view more of them and hold debates around the message and the subject. It is a platform that encourages free thought, artistic expressions and ideas. Often, it is through film festivals that we are introduced to regional and world cinema. But I find Film Festivals in the times of Padmavati a little self defeating,” says Prithvi R, a journalist and a cinema lover. And that’s what brings us to the main question, are we celebrating cinema selectively? Is it okay for any institution to regulate what we watch, what we like and what we celebrate?

The exclusion of movies like ‘Nude’ and ‘S Durga’ from the Indian Panorama of the 48th International Film Festival of India hasn’t gone down well with the viewers and students. Even in the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala, they had banned the screening of three documentaries revolving around Rohith Vemula’s institutional murder and Kashmir. “I personally don’t think it is right for the government or any other institution to interfere with the subject of the film.As an audience, we may reject or embrace what we want to, but that power should lie with us,” says PR Nirmith Jagadish. Echoing similar thoughts, actress Isha Talwar says, “Films are and have always echoed what happens in society ! Filmmakers draw inspiration from real life. We need to rectify problems at root level and change the way we think as a country- eg: “sab chalta Hai”kind of attitude! Banning films is never going to be a solution ! Festivals are for niche audiences anyway and definitely help in expanding horizons and understanding world scenario through a visual medium which is much easier to grasp in a short span of time !”

This year itself we saw huge protests after CBFC refused to certify Lipstick Under My Burkha, branding it as lady oriented. “God alone knows what lady oriented means. It is important that the institution that is supposed to only certify does just that. And it is time that our governing institutions and organisations match steps with the times and doesn’t act or behave out of sync,”says Bodhisatwa Mukherjee, a film enthusiast. Having said all that, there are frameworks within which a film festival can operate and that is what, Artistic Director, Bangalore Film Festival, Vidyashankar points out, “Personally, I am not in favour of banning films but films are for the larger society and therefore we have see that it doesn’t cause unrest. And as a Film festival, we have to abide by some processes.” Matching tune with him, Santhesh Guruvappan, Award winning short film Director of ‘SHE’ says, ” If a film is getting banned, there should be valid reasons behind it. As a filmmaker, I have some responsibility towards my content.”

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