Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s ‘Pinneyum’ (Once Again), which was made after a gap of eight years, and Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s ‘Tope’ (The Bait) were rejected for screening at IFFI Goa this year. But both films had been shown at the Kolkata International Film Festival and applauded.
Adoor says, “I am skeptical about the credentials of the jury members who selected films for IFFI Goa this year.” Echoing the same feeling, Buddhadeb Dasgupta adds, “I doubt if there was a proper and impartial selection at all.”
The Indian Panorama section not only included Goutam Ghose’s ‘Sankhachil’, but strangely enough, also films such as ‘Baastushap’ and ‘Bajirao Mastani’.
Manoj Kumar, honoured with a retrospective at the IFFI, says, “Earlier, these festivals had high standards, where meaningful films were screened and the presence of stalwarts such as Manikda (Satyajit Ray), Raj Kapoor and Sivaji Ganesan added value to the event.”
It was Satyajit Ray, who first pointed out how the standards of these festivals were deteriorating in the 1980s. The Anand brothers, Dev and Vijay, refused to give their films ‘Hum Dono’ and ‘Guide’ for festivals and national awards, which was surprising as most Indian filmmakers were usually keen on showcasing their work. Except for personalities such as V. Shantaram, Satyajit Ray, Vijay Anand and Mrinal Sen no one else has dared to question the credentials of jury members, responsible for film selection.
The Indian film festival turned competitive in 1964. And breaking an existing protocol, President S. Radhakrishnan sat through the entire screening of the inaugural film, ‘Hakeeqat.’ At the same festival, Satyajit Ray’s ‘Charulata’ created cinematic history.
Sandip Ray states, “Each festival has its own character. What ultimately counts are the kind of films being screened, and the audiences and dignitaries attending the event.”