Sheshadri upset over BIFFes list

Sheshadri upset over BIFFes list

Award-winning director wonders why his meticulously crafted film on the young Gandhi was given a go-by

P Sheshadri

The final list of 200-odd films that will be screened at the 12th edition of BIFFes from February 26 to March 4 is out. One of the directors upset about his film being left out is P Sheshadri, whose film ‘Mohandas’, released on October 2 last year, will not be screened at the festival.

‘Mohandas’ is a biographical film about the childhood of Mahatma Gandhi and is presented in three versions, English, Hindi and Kannada.

Sheshadri says ‘Mohandas’ is an important film that talks about the life of a young Gandhi between seven and 15. “We shot at real locations where Gandhi was born, brought up and studied. We shot in his house in Gujarat and his school--all done after securing the permission from the Archaeological Survey of India,” Sheshadri told Metrolife.

He says he is clueless why a film crafted so meticulously didn’t make it to the prestigious film festival.

Every category at BIFFes has an independent jury with full freedom and discretion to choose films. No film body, including the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy, interferes in the selection, the hosts say.

K H Savithri, senior journalist and BIFFes jury member, says films are chosen on the basis of many aspects. “Just because Sheshadri’s film has not been selected, it doesn’t mean it is bad or unworthy of recognition. He should not feel let down. The jury selects films that are not only strong in content but also those that cater to the intellectual sensibilities of an international audience,” Savithri says.

The jury’s decision must be honoured, believes director Dayal Padmanabhan, whose film ‘Ranganayaki’ will be screened both in the Indian film category and the Kannada film competition category.

“There are moments of disappointment in this field and it is not always that one’s film gets noticed and bags awards. We accept the decision of the jury and hope for the best in the next attempt. Kicking up a controversy for something as small as this is uncalled for,” he says. 

Numbers huge

N Vidyashankar, artistic director, BIFFes, says one cannot question or review the decision of the jury or the selection committee. “When choosing internationally renowned films, we look at critical reviews and other considerations. We don’t have that luxury when we are looking at Kannada cinema. It is a vast canvas,” he explains.

‘We have ensured transparency’

Suneel Puranik, chairman of the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy, says he has been working towards ensuring a clean and transparent process in the selection of films for BIFFes.

He took over as chairman in the first week of January this year. “There were two films on Gandhi sent for this year’s BIFFes and both weren’t selected. This doesn’t mean the films were bad. The jury is independent and uses its discretion to choose films and their decision is final. We don’t interfere in the process or question them on their decisions.”

Suneel describes Sheshadri as a popular and respected filmmaker who has made Kannada industry proud. “But films cannot be analysed based on an individual’s name and popularity. There are various aspects that go into the selection of a film. We also look at whether the films in question sit well with the overall idea of the film festival,” he reasons. He says the Kannada film competition category received 126 entries, of which only 14 were chosen. “The benchmark was only 14 films. So we have chosen the best of the lot,” he says. 


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