Vanessa Lien Bianchi | June 25
Cinema is an important medium, and is highly responsible worldwide in constructing otherness. Film industries, since time immemorial, have been aware of this power that it holds, and several studies on this aspect using Hollywood as an example are available. This present study is a result of 10 years of research, backed with a field survey based on experience while conducting seven editions of Le Festival des Films Indiens de Toulouse/Toulouse Indian Film Festival (TIFF). It examines the biases regarding Indian culture held by the majority of French spectators—a majority of them have incorrect ideas about contemporary India—and attempts to find a way to show them the truth.
The primary reason for this widespread misinformation is the escapist Bollywood entertainers, such as Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (15,363 tickets sold in 2001) and Devdas (98,338, in 2003) as well as a few notable films set in India and made by the West, such as Slumdog Millionnaire (2,694,389, in 2009) and Indian Palace (271,131, in 2012). What such canvasses unscrupulously exhibit is an India of contrasting images—grandiose wealth and dire poverty; glamorous haute culture and filthy rags; colorful, luxurious ceremonies and beggars, human trafficking, and exploitation.
Arnab K Middya | June 25
The cinema market of Kolkata/West Bengal has primarily been dominated by Bengali cinema since the last 5 years. The market leader is Venkatesh Films, a company with huge production & distribution networks. The company produces both critically acclaimed art as well as blockbuster commercial films. Additionally, it produces fiction and non-fiction reality shows for Bengali GEC channels such as Star Jalsha, Rupashi Bangla and Mahuaa Bangla; has a very strong distribution chain with total control of over 200 theatres of WB (films such as Raavan and 3 Idiots were released on WB. through their network); and has created superstars in the cinema of Bengali who involve themselves in promoting the company’s films all through the year.
Almost all the major stars, directors, music directors, editors, and art directors, in Kolkata, are discoveries of Venkatesh Films. A majority of them are, naturally, loyal to their company and as a rule do not work for other producers.
Among the young generation of Bengali cinema audience, Dev has an extremely large fanbase and well before the release of each of his films, his fans tend to go into a frenzy and there is frequently a scarcity of tickets. Furthermore, Venkatesh Films creates a huge publicity buzz before each of its film’s releases, so much so that time even good Hindi or English films releasing in the same week are literally compelled to pray for footfalls.
Talks & screenings
Panel discussion on role of critics, by CS Venkiteswaran, GP Ramachandran et al; chaired by VK Joseph | Kerala
Utpal Borpujari (jury chief), Parthajit Baruah, et al. Jury members at the Prag Cine Award | Assam
Aseem Chhabra moderates a panel discussion at Shimla Literature Festival | Gaiety Theater, Shimla
Apurba Sarma, Manoj Barpujari, Parthajit Baruah, et al at the New Filmmakers' Conclave | Assam
GP Ramachandran pays tribute to actor, director, playwright Girish Karnad
Aseem Chhabra converses with filmmaker Sandeep Mohan at a Movie Saints event | Delhi
ON FILM CRITICISM
GP Ramachandran delivered the vote of thanks at IDSFFK. Prior to that, VK Joseph, Premendra Mazumder & CS Venkiteswaran talked about the role of critics.
OF LAW & JUSTICE
Tanul Thakur discusses the idea of the justice system as represented in mainstream Hindi cinema and of the larger impact of commonly used visual narratives.
ON AN ICONIC MUSICAL
Baradwaj Rangan talks about K. Viswanath's Sankarabharanam, an astounding film that threw light on the chasm between Classical and Popular Music.