'Wasting so much money for IFFI opening not necessary'

K Puttaswamy

The representation of Kannada cinema at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) has been poor this year as well, with only one film, 'Ranganayaki', having been selected to compete in the Indian Panorama section.

DH caught up with film scholar K Puttaswamy, the sole member from Karnataka, to be part of the selection process, for an interview:

What do you think of the selection of films this year?

This year, the selection is fairly good. They have included several sections to celebrate 50 years of the festival. There is a section called 'Golden Lining', which shows 12 films by masters. This also includes the 1969 Kannada film 'Uyyale'. In the Indian Panorama section, some of the outstanding films have been directed by directors making their debut such as 'Uyare' by Manu Ashokan.

Why is the inauguration full of Bollywood glitter while the rest of the festival has to do with more serious cinema?

I have wondered that myself. The same thing happens at BIFFES. Culture takes the backstep. The politicians and the glamour rules the roost. I have heard from people who have visited film festivals like Cannes that the inauguration ceremony is very simple. The focus is never on personalities or the glamour. In some festivals, they simply open the champagne bottle and declare the festival open. Then they move on the business of viewing and appreciating films. Wasting so much money (at IFFI) was not at all necessary.
 
What is the selection process like?

At the Indian Panorama section, it’s very elaborate. This time, around 280 films had come, out of which 20 were selected. Five films were selected by the Film Federation of India, which is only commercial films, such as 'Uri', 'Super 30' and 'Gully Boy'. Also, we must select films from minority languages. This time a film came from the Paniya language. There were films from Tulu, Konkani and Khasi, among others. There is an attempt to get representation from multiple languages, which means many good films lose out. This year, there were so many good films from Malayalam, Marathi and Bengali, that some of those that did not make it to the section were better than some of the films from the languages that got in.
 
There is only one Kannada film this time. What is going wrong?

Very few directors are making good films. With all the subsidies that the Karnataka government is offering, making films has become very easy, but making good films have not become any easier. In Maharashtra and Gujarat, only films that proved themselves get subsidies there. Which is why the quality of many films there is very good. For good films, we still have to wait for the films of Kasaravalli or Sheshadri. But a few young filmmakers trying something different.

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