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A multi-lingual medley

A few films produced by the National Film Development Corporation were screened at a festival held in Chennai, recently.VASANTHI SANKARANARAYANAN takes a look...

A scene from ``Kali Salwar''... featured at the film festival.

THE NATIONAL Film Development Corporation (NFDC) conducted a film festival in collaboration with one of the well-known film societies in Chennai, the International Cine Appreciation Forum (ICAF), during the first week of February. The films screened were those made with financial support from NFDC.

This was the first time that such a festival was held in Chennai and it was natural to wonder about the rationale behind holding such a festival.

It was indeed a welcome move on NFDC's part to give the Chennai audience a sample of the films being supported by them. This was also a good chance for young, aspiring film-makers to have an idea of the kind of films that were selected for financial support by NFDC.

Talking about these issues, Mr. Pai, the Regional Officer commented: "We have been wanting to show the public the films produced by us for a long time. The opportunity has come only now."

There were various reasons for having a festival such as this one. When the International Film Festival of India was cancelled, film lovers and critics felt that they had lost a unique opportunity to see International films as well as the Indian films chosen by the jury. There were requests to screen at least the Panorama films in Chennai.

As there were 30 films chosen for the Indian Panorama this year, it was next to impossible to assemble all the films and screen them immediately. So, the next option was to go ahead and screen the films produced by NFDC.

As the Chennai audience were more interested in seeing films produced in other languages, three Bengali films, one Oriya Film, one Telugu film and four Hindi films were chosen. "The availability of the hall was also another consideration.

Our current chairperson, Hemamalini was also interested that such a beginning should be made in Chennai", said Mr. Pai who also noted that the festival will be held in other South Indian centres such as Bangalore and Hyderabad.

The films screened at the festival created a mixed reaction . Films such as "Ekti Nadir Naam" (Bengali) by Anup Singh, "Tila Danam" (Telugu) by K.N.T. Sastri, "Dattak" (Hindi) by Gulbahar Singh, were noteworthy from the point of view of plot as well as technique. That Anup Singh's film was not a sub-titled one created a feeling of disappointment in the audience.

Such a remarkable film with resonances of the great film-maker Rithwik Ghatak and his films could not be fully appreciated as the dialogue could not be followed completely.

"Tila Danam" dealt with the theme of the traditional as well as the Marxian approach to poverty.

It did touch an emotional high on account of Dattatreya's contained and convinced acting.

The film would have been better off without the background score, which was tedious, repetitive, stereotypical and therefore irritating.

"Dattak" dealt with the plight of the old parents who are left alone and have to deal with marginalisation and loneliness.

Though it was at times too melodramatic, it made a statement which is very valid in modern India, and elevated itself through the depiction of the protagonist, Sunil, by Rajat Kapur.

The rest of the films were not satisfactory on account of various reasons.

There was one film "Kabhi Tum Kabhi Hum" which cannot even be called an average film.

In the world of cinema, we are used to watching all kinds of disasters, multi-starrers, commercial films which are hollow, pretentious art films which manage to confuse the audience in the name of abstraction, fragmentation and technical proficiency.

All one can hope for is that a responsible organisation such as NFDC, would exercise more discretion when selecting scripts especially when there are so many young and talented film-makers waiting for their turn.

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