Utpal Borpujari

December 1, 2008

‘Maharashtrian-North Indian issue created for political gains’

By Utpal Borpujari 

At a time when MNS-led anti North Indian tirade is being matched in rhetoric by C-grade flicks like Deshdrohi, a film made by a director and producer hailing from North India has attracted attention at the 39th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa for its focus on the farmers’ suicide issue in Maharashtra. 

“It’s all a political identification created for electoral gains, and in India, one can be known only as an Indian, not as a North Indian or a Maharashtrian or anyone else,” Atul Pandey, producer of Summer 2007, told Sakaal Times, after the film got screened at the Indian Panorama section of IFFI on Monday. 

Summer 2007, which released earlier this year, did very badly at the Box Office but has been appreciated for its theme since it got selected to Indian Panorama. 

“This is a film that has been inspired by the writings of journalist P Sainath and work of Nobel Laureate Mohammad Yunus of Bangladesh, and it touches upon the issue of farmers suicides in Maharashtra that has not been tackled by any Hindi film so far,” Pandey said. 

“The North Indian-Maharashtrian debate is nothing but a politically-created issue. When I showed this film in Allahabad sometime ago at a special screening, 500 farmers, all obviously North Indians, watched it and cried at the plight of the farmers. We all ultimately have the same problems and issues, whether we come from the North or South or any other part of India,” he said. 

Both Pandey and the film’s director Suhail Tatari, meanwhile, have blamed the film’s distributors for the “worst possible release” given to it leading to its disastrous performance in the Box Office. 

“Our biggest problem was getting the shows in the theatres,” said Tatari. “Our co-producers and marketing companies did not believe in this film at all, as there is no normal masala in it. Since the corporatisation of cinema has happened, the corporates are interested only in commercial films, and not in socially-relevant subjects,” said Pandey. 

“They don’t realise that audiences are rejecting all these big budget films that have bad stories,” he said. 

(Published in Sakaal Times, www.sakaaltimes.com, http://epaper.sakaaltimes.com, 25-11-2008)

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