Osian’s Cinefan director Neville Tuli on why he took a sabbatical

“It was the most difficult period for Osian’s after 2009 as all our infrastructure building activities were in one entity and most were still to complete incubation. Yet leveraging was high, the art market virtually collapsed and liquidity totally dried up,” says the Osian’s Cinefan director Neville Tuli.

Explaining the circumstances which compelled him to take a sabbatical for two years from the annual Osian’s-Cinefan Film Festival which opened in the Capital on Friday, Neville says: “It was impossible to conduct the film festival under those circumstances. Thereafter I have devoted two-and-a-half years to slowly but very systematically rebuild and restructure all Osian’s responsibilities so that we have a rock solid foundation and never go through such experiences, irrespective of what happens around us. The process is still going on but we will be stronger than ever very soon. It was essential to bring back Osian’s-Cinefan this year, especially as Osianama, a cultural centre providing access to film memorabilia and archives, opens in Delhi shortly.”

Acknowledging that this year’s festival will be different from the one held in 2009, Neville says there are many differences between the two but the organic structure and vision remain core constant. “Bringing in partners, apart from the Delhi Government, was the first major change. This begins our three-year plan to become one of the great global film festivals where Indian cinematic heritage and contemporary works are centre-stage on our terms rather than some by exotic dance show or other misguided preconceptions. Further, true to our belief that cinema is the greatest modern inter-disciplinary cultural activity, we have incorporated music to some extent in this edition.”Describing Osian’s-Cinefan as a true and bold film festival, Neville says it seeks to promote good cinema which the short-sighted public perception cannot recognise today but will tomorrow. “This is the case with many of the eminent directors who today have found mainstream respect but struggled for years where the film festival was the main support and nurturer of showing their films. Anurag Kashyap is just one famous example. Arab cinema has strong bold themes which need to be shared as few other voices exist to reveal the struggle and joys given the lopsided power structures in the world.”

This year Osian’s-Cinefan is giving a red carpet treatment to the unconventional film-maker Anurag Kashyap whose unreleased “Gangs of Wasseypur-II” will be premiered at the festival. He will be coming along with his main actors. “It is a green carpet treatment and for us or any great film festival the director is the star. We have seen Anurag Kashyap’s struggle and have admiration for his talent. The rest is logistics and changes by the day.”