The highest number of delegates is from Kozhikode, Malappuram

Cinema lover troop to capital city for a taste of ‘serious cinema.’

When Thiruvananthapuram catches a film fever in December, Malabar shivers.

A major percentage of delegates at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), the 12th edition of which opens in the capital on Friday, are invariably from the Malabar region, according to K.G. Mohan Kumar, regional secretary, Federation of Film Societies of India.

“Apart from Thiruvananthapuram, the highest number of delegates is usually from Kozhikode, followed by Malappuram. From Farook College in Kozhikode alone some 40 students have been coming to the festival,” says Mohan Kumar, who has been associated with the task of issuing delegate passes for the last four years.

“There has been a considerable increase in demand for delegate passes this year,” says V.K. Joseph, vice-chairman, Kerala State Chalachitra Academy.

Among the 6,000 delegates who have been issued passes is C.K. Vijayan, a Kozhikode-based businessman.

“I have rarely missed the festival since its inception,” he says.

“I stay in Thiruvananthapuram for the entire festival and have to spend something like Rs.3,000 for my food and accommodation, which I am only glad to do, as I get an opportunity to see serious cinema from across the globe.”

‘Better than IFFI’

K.J. Thomas, secretary, Bankmen’s Film Society, Kozhikode, is another regular at the IFFK. “I meet many people from Kozhikode like Vijayan regularly at Thiruvananthapuram during the festival,” he says.

“For the people of Malabar, the IFFK is the most ideal opportunity to see international cinema, as we hardly have any quality film festivals here.” True. And the fact is, the IFFK is already rated by many above the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in terms of the quality of the films screened.

“No question about that; I was mighty disappointed with my experiences with the IFFI,” says Vijayan.

“When my romance with cinema began, back in the 1970’s I used to subscribe to a Bangalore-based daily just to know which films were being shown in Bangalore, from where I had seen quality Hollywood films like ‘The Godfather’. At the IFFK I could see even better films. The festival always brings the best of world cinema. I particularly liked the Iranian films I saw last year.”

P.K. Ajith Kumar