We need not change to impress foreign audiences: Nandita Das

We need not change to impress foreign audiences: Nandita Das


Das said that she was surprised that cinema buffs at film festivals worldwide could identify with the story of her 'Firaaq', set in the backdrop of Gujarat riots.

"I felt the references and context was very Indian. But at Toronto and other festivals across the world, audiences came upto me and said that the story could have been in any part of the world where sectarian tensions prevailed," Nandita said.

Das, who is also the chairperson of the Children's Film Society of India (CFSI), was addressing the Confederation of Indian Industry's 'Big Picture' conference on Indian cinema and Global Reach at the 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here today.

The actress said that human emotions were universal and film festivals were an interesting platform where different ways of seeing and making films could be experienced.

"It is opening up of our minds and there was no need for awe or disdain at screening of films at international festivals," Das said.

Her views were echoed by noted Malayalam filmmaker Shahji Karun and well-known director M S Sathyu who said that good content in any language appeal to international audiences irrespective of the budgets.

They also opined that there was no need for Indian cinema to change its "idiom" of songs and dances to find a foothold in international markets.

US-based Tamil filmmaker Arun Vaidyanathan was of the view that sub-titling of Indian films is very poor. Western audiences have problem with the duration of Indian films and they prefer straight forward narration and don't like stories to be interrupted by songs and dances.

Nandita lamented that the gap between "art" and "commercial" films has been created as if the two cannot meet.

"Every film is commercial as producers would want to get back the money invested. But, sometimes economics interferes with art."

The 'Fire' actress said there was no marketing model for independent filmmakers to create awareness about their work at international level.

On global audiences, Nandita felt Indian filmmakers target only the Indian diaspora or the NRI market.

Declining to comment on the criticism of her movie from certain sections, Nandita said films are about showing reality. "Through different stories you understand different cultures. I would like to do films which tell different truths so that we can get a deeper understanding of our complex nation."

Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) Chief Executive Manoj Srivastava said a separate body for cohesive co-ordination with global sales agents and International Film Festivals should be created to enable independent movie makers to get access to world market.

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