Filmmakers from Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal and the northeast, meeting here during the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI), decided to form a forum for distribution of regional cinema in the country and allow independent filmmakers to share expertise.
This development came on the penultimate day of Film Bazaar 2006, organised by the business lobby network the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Regional cinema players Ramesh Deo (Marathi), Rajendra Talak (Konkani), Suman Harpirya (from Assam), S.L. Dugar (Bengali), and Saibal Mitra (Bengali), participating in the bazaar, agreed to form a forum especially for the distribution of regional cinema.
“The forum is more necessary today than ever before. Beyond distribution, regional films could be exchanged with subtitles within the country,” said Ramesh Deo.
This is the first time a Marathi filmmaker and promoter has taken space at the Film Bazaar. The company is promoting Marathi movie “Vasudev Balwant Phadke”, based on the life of the first armed revolutionary of India.
Phadke (1845-1883) was an Indian revolutionary and is widely regarded as the “father of the armed struggle” of India’s independence. Moved by the plight of the farmer community in Maharastra, he formed a revolutionary group, known as Ramoshi, which waged a struggle to overthrow the British.
Speaking on Konkani films, Rajendra Talak said that the regional films are losing their originality and it is moving towards the mainstream industry.
He argued that the government should mandate theatres to screen regional-language movies. Talak’s Konkan movie, “Antarnad” is scheduled for screening at IIFI. The story revolves around the identity clash between mother and daughter.
From West Bengal, Dugar said distribution is key to regional cinema. He requested CII to create a platform to distribute regional films.
Suman Haripriya felt that there is potential for movies from the northeast, but the biggest challenge is distribution in domestic and international markets.
The focus of the CII Film Bazaar workshop was on the future of South Indian cinema.
Ananda Pictures managing director L. Suresh said that the government should recognise the film industry not merely in terms of what it saw in Bollywood, but as a holistic Indian film industry.
He said there is a huge market for South Indian films but the biggest challenge faced by the South Indian movie industry is the dubbing of English movies.
“Earlier, any Hollywood movie would be dubbed in about five prints. The new James Bond movie ‘Casino Royale’ came out with 75 prints in Tamil and 100 prints in Telugu,” said Suresh.
While the Tamil film industry is vibrant, there is also a fear that this new emerging trend may culturally dwarf local cinema, he said.
P.K. Nair, a doyen of Indian cinema, maintained film archiving is the need of the hour. He said filmmakers are dying and the country cannot lose the cultural treasures captured on celluloid. “The government and private sector should jointly protect and restore the films,” he added.
November 28th, 2006