Honouring noted film-maker Mrinal Sen and saluting Cubans, who are celebrating the golden jubilee of their struggle for liberation, the 14th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) got off to a fabulous start here on Friday evening.
The inaugural function saw, besides Mr. Sen, an array of celebrities such as Central Board for Film Certification chairman Sharmila Tagore, French Ambassador Jérôme Bonnafont and Oscar award winner Resul Pookutty.
Mr. Sen, who was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award, said a constant conflict between commercial viability and creativity raged in all creative minds and he was no exception to it. A film rated as a commercial success may not give due satisfaction to the film-maker.
Though “Pather Panchali” was a huge commercial success, he derived maximum creative satisfaction from “Aparajita,” which won him the Golden Lion of Venice. “This is clear proof that creativity and commerce need not go hand in hand,” Mr. Sen said in the inaugural address.
Kerala Minister for Culture and Education M.A. Baby reminisced about his interactions with ‘Mrinal Da’ and the anxieties they shared about the changes sweeping the cultural field. Mr. Sen’s valuable observations on culture had a philosophical dimension, Mr. Baby said in the presidential address. The State government was planning to set up a film institute and a cultural complex for organising film festivals in a better way in the coming years. Mr. Baby solicited the Centre’s support for such ventures.
Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor, in the keynote address, said he was trying to secure maximum support from the Centre for such projects. He added that a festival of Barcelona will be conducted in the capital next year.
Mr. Baby presented the lifetime achievement award — comprising Rs. 3 lakh, a citation and statuette — to Mr. Sen. Mr. Pookutty was also honoured. Forest Minister Benoy Viswam released the festival book by handing over a copy to Ms. Tagore.
Veteran actor Madhu, who chaired the IFFK Lifetime Award jury, directors Sibi Malayil and Harikumar, academy vice-chairman V.K. Joseph, festival artistic director Beena Paul Venugopal, MLA V. Sivankuty, District Panchayat president Anavoor Nagappan, and Mayor C. Jayan Babu were present. Academy chairman K.R. Mohanan welcomed, while Secretary K. Sreekumar proposed a vote of thanks. Turkish film “A Step into Darkness,” directed by Atil Inaq, was screened after the function.
At a meet-the-press organised by the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club, Ms. Tagore said the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) has proposed amendments to the censorship guidelines to match the contemporary cinema culture, its chairperson Sharmila Tagore said here on Friday.
Ms. Tagore said the draft of the amendments was expected to come up for discussion in the next session of Parliament. “The proposed changes will suit the modern and contemporary culture of Indian cinema.”
The Board had asked for more age categories in categorising films. “We have also suggested making the publication of film certification mandatory for advertisements appearing in newspapers and hoardings to ensure consumer advice.”
“I will not call the present Bollywood movies as ‘Kati Patang’ as compared to films of yesteryear.” Audience perception of Indian cinema had changed over the years. “Hindi movies are increasingly market-driven but they are getting globalised and getting better.”
Ms. Tagore said national interests were increasingly taking the back seat in Indian cinema. “We are becoming more identity conscious, resulting in inter-group rivalries.” Indian film festivals were not getting proper media coverage at the national level.
She said it was the people who made film festivals at the end of the day and not awards or the red carpet. She pointed out that even the common man in Kerala had imbibed its rich movie culture, making it a good location for an international film festival, unlike Goa, where the local population had a passion for music.