Dayal Padmanabhan: Sole Kannada voice in IFFI Panorama

Film Director Dayal Padmanabhan at International Film Festilva India, Goa 2019. (DH Photo: Pushkar V)

Dayal Padmanabhan is a lone Kannada warrior at the 50th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI). His ‘Ranganayaki’ is the only Kannada film to make it to the Indian Panorama section this year. DH caught up with the filmmaker to find out why Kannada films fare so poorly at IFFI:

Q. Can you tell us about the representation that Kannada films gets at IFFI?

A. There is a scientifically-derived formula to take jury members, but I believe it is not being democratically implemented. I feel sometimes that personal interest plays a big role. For example, if your film is there and you are known to me, I may feel I have to do something for you.

Q. How do industries like Malayalam and Bengali get the representation that they do?

A. You have to agree that in South India, Malayalam films have the most quality. They are content-oriented films. Marathi and Bengali films are very content-oriented too. So, if you look at the content-oriented films that come to IFFI, some 75% of them are from Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi.

Q. What is lacking in Kannada cinema?

A. There is a generation of Kannada filmmakers who used to have their films entered into Indian panorama very regularly like Girish Kasaravalli, P Sheshadri and Girish Karnad. Some new filmmakers have entered Kannada cinema, but they don’t have the same brand value. They don’t get the same amount of space.

Q. Does the industry restrict their space?

A. If people have to choose between my film and a Kasaravalli film, the importance is obviously given to a Kasaravalli film. I never categorise films into art cinema or commercial cinema, I call it content-oriented cinema. We never saw a Kasaravalli film or a P Sheshadri doing very well in the theatres, because they never thought their films would do well in theatres. Recent filmmakers are putting in more effort, with social media and everything, to pull audiences to the theatres. We are trying to break the myth that content-oriented films are only for festivals.

Q. Aren’t a lot of theatres going for multilingual big-budget films like KGF?

A. Definitely, but that issue is not only in Kannada. When a commercial film is getting released, content-oriented cinema will not get theatres. So, we are waiting for times when there are no big commercial releases to release our movie.

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