(Published in Eastern Chronicle, 27-11-2013)
Panaji (Goa): Top filmmakers of India have whole-heartedly welcomed the inclusion of the “Focus: North East Cinema” section in the 44th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here.
In fact, the question has been: “Why it has taken so long to think up this idea?”
Superstar Kamal Haasan is one who has been floored by the section. “Indian cinema lives in its regions, and the strength of Indian cinema is that it is so diverse. Unfortunately, the term ‘Bollywood’ has encompassed everything, even though actually sort of demeans our cinemas given that it implies that Indian cinema is a poor cousin of Hollywood.,” he says.
“The North East is one of the most beautiful parts of our country, and it has come up with some really good films over the years. I am elated that IFFI is having this section, putting the spotlight firmly on the region’s cinema,” Haasan says.
Veteran producer-director Subhash Ghai, known for his opulent blockbusters, feels that the section is one of the major attractions of IFFI this year. “I am wondering what took it so long to come up with idea of having a special focus on Northeastern cinema! There are so many talented filmmakers in that region and some of their films have shone at global platforms. I think it’s great to get a perspective about cinema from the region here in IFFI,” he says.
Ramesh Sippy, the man behnd the immortal blockbuster “Sholay”, echoes Ghai. “We often tend to forget that the North East is an important and integral part of our country. Cinema is a great unifier and I am sure this section will strongly underline that fact,” he says.
Dada Saheb Phalke awardee filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who attended the opening ceremony of the section and enjoyed the Mizo film “Khawnlung Run” by Mapuia Chawngthu, also found the initiative to be a good one. “Indian cinema is as diverse as our country is. While we are all one Indian cinema, films from each region have their own unique flavour. And cinema from the North East is really unique as it reflects the multi-ethnic society there. Therefore, this section is an important step towards letting festival visitors get a comprehensive idea about the journey of cinema there,” he says.
(www.easternchronicle.net: go to archives and select 27-11-2013 edition)