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August 24 2019
A window to Indian cinema
26 November 2018

The Indian Panorama Section of the ongoing 49th International Film Festival of India has an interesting line-up. We speak to some of the filmmakers whose films will be showcased during the festival

The 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is already underway and just like every year a major focus of everyone’s attention is the Indian Panorama Section which provides platform to quality films in different Indian languages. In the last few years, the section has become a favourite amongst young and upcoming filmmakers to demonstrate their talent. This year again the section is showcasing films of as many as eleven debut filmmakers including Zakariya’s Malayalam film Sudani From Nigeria, Arjun Dutta’s Bengali film Abyakto, Chezhiyan Ra’s Tamil film To Let, Arijit Singh’s Bengali film Sa, Kamakhya Narayan Singh’s Hindi film Bhor, and two non-feature films viz. Satyaprakash Upadhyay’s Bunkar and Gautam Vaze’s Aai Shappath.

Sudani from Nigeria follows a Nigerian football player who joins a club in Malappuram – a district in the state of Kerala famous for inventing a shorter version of football called Sevens that’s also played on a smaller playing field with teams comprising seven players each. Zakariya, who both wrote and directed the film, says, “The only way forward for independent filmmakers is through film festivals. All we need is an opportunity to showcase our talent. I think IFFI with its Panorama Section is playing a great role in supporting independent cinema in India.”

Bunkar is another interesting selection this year. Directed by Satyaprakash Upadhyay, the documentary attempts to draw our attention to the plight of the weavers of Varanasi.

Plight of weavers

“As someone who has been associated with the film industry for a decade, I fully understand that IFFI is a top festival of India. I am really grateful to the festival jury for selecting a documentary subject as part of the Indian Panorama Section. My home town is near Varanasi and so I have grown up seeing the weavers of Varanasi go about their day to day affairs but today their condition is worse than ever. Bunkar is an endeavour to highlight the problems that the weavers of Varanasi have to deal with on a daily basis. Hopefully, the screening at IFFI will allow it to reach far and wide,” says Upadhyay.

The National Award-winning filmmaker Praveen Morchhale’s Ladakhi language film Walking With the Wind is also a part of this year’s Panorama Section. His second feature film tells the story of a 10-year-old Himalayan boy who tries to rectify his mistake which he commits unintentionally. “Indian Panorama gives a window to the world to see vibrant cinema of Indian languages and an opportunity to debutant as well as established filmmakers to present their daring stories, art and craft of cinema,” says Morchhale.

 

A window to Indian cinema

Another important film is Kamakhya Narayan Singh’s debut film Bhor. “Isn't it shocking that in the day and age of the #MeToo movement a large segment of women in the lesser educated communities, whether in the city or village has no voice at all? Why women, even men in many underprivileged communities live in abject poverty and ignorance?” ponders Singh, who has based Bhor on his own interactions with the tribal communities of Bihar. “I am really delighted that my film has been selected in the Indian Panorama Section. I still remember watching Panorama films on Doordarshan as a child. The films were different than commercial films of Bollywood. I remember watching Manipuri and Malalayam Films. At that young, impressionable age, it gave me an idea of what is Indian way of storytelling,” recollects Singh.

 

 

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