- by guest author, Noopur Bora
One of the most important events of the year for cinema in India began two days ago - the 39th International Film Festival of India, popularly known as the IFFI.
IFFI is India’s oldest and most prestigious film festival. The event is India’s attempt to get on the International cinematic map. This festival is also recognized by International Federation of Film Producers’ Associations (FIAPF).
The event which used to take place in the country’s capital was shifted to Goa in 2005, the smallest state in the country.
The Goan government, along with the central I&B ministry, has left no stone unturned for this 39th IFFI. The preparations are done. The security is tight. The schedule in place and the stage is set. The chief guests for the inauguration are the two people who have held a great respect in the film fraternity – Rekhaji and Kamal Hasan. And the big news is that John Landis is attending this festival with his wife. The arrangements are big and the money spent is huge. The state of Goa is all set to host this mega event.
So, what’s the hitch?
The organizers of the festival describe it as the “Indian Cannes”. And that’s the hitch.
The debate was same last year and it has not changed a bit. Why doesn’t IFFI match-up with Cannes? No doubt that the IFFI is a successful event. But its popularity is in not comparable to that of Cannes.
But again people will might question - Why do you want to discuss that? Why always the comparisons with the western world? Why compare IFFI, India’s most prestigious film festival, with Cannes?
That’s it. Why is IFFI just India’s most prestigious film festival? Why doesn’t it hold the same stature at the world level? Every aspiring director in the world one day wants to win the Palme d’Or or the Golden Palm at the Cannes. Why doesn’t the top prize at IFFI, known as the Golden Peacock, have the same kind of importance? Why an aspiring director, in some corner of Mexico, doesn’t even know about the IFFI when at the same time he is dreaming about his film being screened at the Cannes? We don’t want to copy Cannes. We just want to IFFI to become an International Festival in true sense.
So where do the problems lie?
The festival has minimum hype. Very few common people outside the state of Goa know about the festival. The organizers call it – “240 hours of sheer entertainment and fun”. But for whom? There is barely any advertisement on popular media. The common man, who shells out Rs.200 for a cinema ticket, is least interested in one of the most important events of Indian Cinema?! Not his fault. Because his favourite stars are never seen talking about the festival. There are no mainstream Indian stars linked to the event, let alone the International stars. I don’t know how many mainstream stars are coming out to support this festival. Maybe they are, but sorry we can’t see them. They might be supporting it, but they are surely not promoting it.
Aamir Khan was supposed to be the chief guest at the festival but he couldn’t make it due to some reasons. With all due respect to Rekhaji and Kamal Hasan, Aamir’s unavailability doesn’t help the festival.
Where is the media?
We see the media discussing Aishwarya at Cannes. We see them talking her dress at Cannes. We see them talking about the Indian movies screened at Cannes. All good. But do the actors attending IFFI make “Breaking News”? Does the media talk about the films being screened at IFFI? Does the media know that four Indian Films, ‘Thanks Maa’, ‘Dhuaan ,‘Stoneman’ and ‘Oye Lucky Lucky Oye’ are being premiered at the IFFI? In fact 45 films (25 feature and 20 non-feature) have been added to the Indian Panorama Film Section this year.
India is one of the largest film producing countries in the world and IFFI is its flag bearer. The IFFI needs the hype, glamour and the star attraction that it deserves. After all IFFI is the representation of Indian Cinema on the International scene. We know IFFI is not Cannes yet. But it can get there. It’s a process. A process which will take its time. For now, let us hope this IFFI takes place smoothly and turns out to be a big success.
So when more Indians will know how important the Indian Film Festival of India is, THEN WE CAN.
OPENING FILM : THE WARLORDS
DIRECTOR : PETER CHAN
Cast : Jet Li, Andy Lau, Takeshi Kaneshiro , Jinglei Xu
MID FEST FILM : LUST, CAUTION
DIRECTOR : ANG LEE
Cast: Tang Wei, tony Leung, Wang Lee Hom, Joan Chen
CLOSING FILM : THE SONG OF ARROWS
DIRECTOR : MAJID MAJIDI
Cast: Mohammad Amir Naji, Hossein Aghazi, Maryam
Akbari, Kamran Dehghan
FILM INFO COURTESY http://iffi.nic.in/
- by Noopur Bora.
This article is written by guest author, Noopur Bora, who just wants to be known as “a sucker for cinema”.