Kannada arthouse a big draw this year

The clamour for offbeat cinema is high, and many who throng the halls are going back disappointed

Such is the demand for Kannada arthouse cinema, that despite multiple screenings, many movie buffs have to return disappointed.

The 11th Bangalore Film Festival has sprung a surprise: Kannada arthouse cinema, which always had a limited audience, is a big, big draw this year.

The festival opened on February 22, and halls screening arthouse cinema are running full. Hundreds of movie buffs are going back disappointed. The 11th edition of the festival is being held at PVR, Orion Mall.

“There has been a big audience for Kannada art movies in the last two years. The crowd is definitely bigger this year,” says N Vidyashankar, artistic director, BIFFes.

Arthouse films delve into contemporary problems, and so their audiences are growing, he reckons.

Each film is screened twice, once at Orion mall and a second time at the Kalavidara Sangha hall in Chamarajpet.

“I couldn’t believe the tremendous response. In fact, I have requested the organisers to screen my film Anuttara one more time,” Nidasale M Puttaswamaiah, producer, says.

Kannada film makers should understand the pulse of the audiences and make sensitive films, he told Metrolife.

Vidyashankar says BIFFes is the only place where audiences can catch offbeat films, which is why the crowds are so big.

As always, films in the Kannada popular entertainment category are also getting a huge response.

“We are unable to control the crowds,” says a volunteer. “Hundreds of people return disappointed.”

V K Prakash, Malayalam film maker and member of the jury in Kannada cinema competition, says, “It is amazing to see such big crowds for films people have already watched at the cinemas.”

Kannada films competing

Sixteen Kannada films are in the fray for top honours: Ananthu vs Nusrath, Anuttara, Attaya vs Handi Kayolu, Belakina Kannadi, Kannoorayana, Naathicharaami, Neeru, Ondalla Eradalla, Ramana Savari, Savitribai Phule, Smashana Mouna, Samanatheya Kadege and Vishwamanava.

The Kannada popular entertainment cinema category features eight films: Ayogya, KGF Chapter-1, Humble Politician Nogaraj, Raju Kananda Medium, Rambo 2, Sarkari Hiriya Prathamika Shaale Kasaragodu, Tagaru and The Villain.

Seniors in majority

About 60 per cent of the audience at the festival comprises senior citizens, while those between 25 and 30 years account for 20 per cent, and those between 35-50 constitute 20 per cent.

As those aged between 35-50 are employed, they find it difficult to take time off for the festival, the hosts say.

This edition of BIFFes has 7,000 delegates. The first edition had 600. In 2018, the festival in Mysuru had the highest number of delegates: 9,000.

Close to 25,000 people visited the venue on Saturday and Sunday. The average number on weekdays is about 20,000. Eight Oscar short-listed are being screened.

"The response to Kannada art movies encourages directors to attempt more such movies. Two screenings of Kannada films should happen at the main venue. Few know about the second venue, Kalavidara Sangha at Chamarajpet, where the second screening is held. The response there is poor. Foreign delegates should be made to watch Kannada films so that they are exposed to our culture."

P Sheshadri, Well-known director

"A dedicated audience watches such movies every year. It is time to introspect about whether we have done anything to create new audiences. BIFFes has provided an excellent opportunity to watch good movies. But such films should get audiences all over the state, and not in just Bengaluru."

Mansore, Director, Naathicharaami

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