Bollywood Descends on Delhi at 12th Osian Cinefan FF
Mumbai: Bollywood appears to have descended on Delhi, as the 12th Osian’s Cinefan Festival for Asian and Arab Cinema approaches the half-way mark. The day saw the presence of veteran director Shekhar Kapur, actor and filmmaker Sanjay Suri, director Kiran Rao, actor Prateik Babbar, actor and filmmaker Nandita Das. Both veteran filmmaker Shekhar Kapur and Sanjay Suri in separate interactions complained about the grading system of the Central Board of Film Certification. Shekhar said many countries did not have any censorship and those that did had better and more rational regulations in place. Suri felt there is dire need for change in the grading system of films for certification as things like violence and even romance are being seen by children on television and other sources. In fact, he wondered why Doordarshan refused to show films that have been certified by the Central Board for Film Certification as U/A and a private television channel can show it. Shekhar said Indians should not be so crazy about the Oscars when Asia was vibrant enough to have its own Oscar-like awards, during an interaction with Osian’s Chairman Neville Tuli on “Indian Cinema, World Cinema film festivals and cinematic heritage”. He said it was wrong to claim India has the largest film industry in the world. China is ahead of India because it is creating new infrastructures for cinema. It had a very strong domestic market for cinema, worth almost $ 100,000. Therefore the only way to improve the Indian market is to improve the local market for cinema by building greater infrastructure such as financial institutions to help the film industry. Mr Tuli said that the OCFF this year was stressing on freedom of thought and expression and showing films that proved to be milestones in their fight for their right of freedom of expression. Sanjay, who was addressing a press meet for the film ‘As the River flows’ by Bidyut Kotoky in which he plays the leading role, said.filmmakers needed to be more courageous to deal with such subjects as the audiences were looking for new subjects and there was a place for a different kind of cinema. Bidyut admitted he had taken mainstream actors in his film to reach out to larger audience. Talented actor and filmmaker Nandita Das who is Chairperson of the Children’s Film Society, India, was here to inaugurate a special section for school children. Director Kiran Rao in another interaction said she believed that the way characters are conceived provides motivation to a film, which did not necessarily have to depend on the plot. She said this was why her film ‘Dhobi Ghat’ had strong characters that took their own course in the movie rather then being dominated by the plot. Kiran also said she had not wanted to take Aamir Khan initially, as she wanted to protect her script from being interpreted by an actor instead of the director. But she realized that Aamir as an experienced actor brought out many shades of the character he portrayed. Actor Prateik Babbar said he had to work on his role as he had to learn the mannerisms and body language of a dhobi and also learn to speak fluent Hindi. Later in the evening, renowned Iranian filmmaker Dariush Mehrjui in conversation with veteran critic Aruna Vasudev said it was a sad coincidence that most of his films had faced bans in his own country but won awards overseas. His film ‘The Orange Suit’ at the Festival is a satire on cleaning politics, through the idiom of the hero who takes upon himself the task of cleaning the environment.