Veteran Actor Sharmila Tagore on Tuesday called for raising the profile of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) by getting a prominent film personality to be the face of the festival and ensure a better focus for the event.
“International film festivals need a face to raise its profile. Bureaucrats gets transferred whereas prominent film personalities are a continuity. The face of the festival can be a prominent artiste. Besides, Indian cinema does not mean Bollywood. In the last few years, I have seen this event getting Bollywood-centric,” she told reporters.
The noted Actor also stressed the need for working on the film market to ensure that Indian films got buyers globally. The Actor, who is the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), is here for the ongoing 40th IFFI along with well known Bengali Actor Soumitra Chaterjee. Both were honoured at the festival on completion of 50 years in cinema.
“We were honoured at the festival for completing 50 years. IFFI could have honoured us better with a good print of Apur Sansar,” she said apparently annoyed at the screeing of a poor print of the Satyajit Ray-directed 1959 movie starring her and Mr. Chaterjee at the festival.
Ms. Sharmila agreed with Mr. Soumitra Chaterjee that to create an ambience for an International film festival, just having a permanent venue was not enough. “Ambience is also made of the people,” she said adding that she has no stand on whether Goa should be the permanent venue or not.
Stating that there should a passion for watching International cinema, she said “It is a matter of liking of the people and it can’t be pushed down somebody’s throat.”
Ms. Sharmila said the thought of directing a film did cross her mind a couple of years ago.
“But, a director needs to have discipline and time, a commitment of a different kind and I was wearing too many caps. Over the years, I have been watching so many young directors with a different rhythm and strength. If I make a film it would be of my era and experience and I am not sure if I can connect with the young audience. Anyway, if I direct a film, it will probably not be a bad film,” she said.
The Actor said she liked her role of a spinster aunt of Rahul Bose in Bengali film “Antaheen” which was screened at the IFFI this year. “It was not stereotypical,” she said, adding that she had completed shooting for an English film “Life Goes On“.
Ms. Sharmila said she was not keen on working in Hindi films if there were no roles of substance.
The veteran Actor recalled how Shakti Samanta had planned “Aradhana” with her and Shammi Kapoor in the lead but how things failed to take off as the latter could not give dates.
“Hence, Shaktida did the film on a smaller scale with newcomer Rajesh Khanna. The film went to be such a huge hit and Rajesh Khanna was catapulted to superstardom. It became dangerous to go out with him because he would get mobbed all the time,” she recalled.
Speaking about the draft amendments to the cinematograph act 1952 proposed by the CBFC, Ms. Sharmila said it was pending with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
One of the important recommendations, she said, was a mandatory display of certification on the posters and advertisements so that the consumer knew what kind of film he was going to watch.