With the objective of restoring Indian culture, values and identity in Indian cinema, second Chitra Bharati Film Festival concluded on February 21 in the presence of galaxy of stalwarts from cinema world
It needs no elaboration that cinema is an effective medium of moulding public opinion. But the problem with the Bharatiya cinema for several years is that one can see the entire world in Bharatiya movies, but not Bharat, her culture and values for which she is known world over. If we say that Bharat is missing from Bharatiya movies for several years will not be wrong. It is with the objective of motivating filmmakers to restore Bharat, Bharatiya culture and Bharatiya values in Bharatiya cinema that the Bharatiya Chitra Sadhana started organising Chitra Bharati Film Festival in 2016 from Indore. The second film festival was held in New Delhi’s popular Siri Fort Auditorium from Feb. 19 to 21.
The festival was graced by the heavyweights of Indian cinema including ‘Dream Girl’ Hema Malini, noted film makers Subhash Ghai, Madhur Bhandarkar and Priyadarshan, Chairman of Central Board of Film Certification Prasoon Joshi, leading stars Arjun Rampal, Victor Banerjee, film director Sudipto Sen, Marathi film director Raj Dutt, Manju Bora from north-east, leading script writer Dr KV Vijayendra Prasad, play back singer Babul Supriyo, UV Krishnan Raju, Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari, etc. Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smt Smriti Irani, Haryana Chief Minister Shri Manohar Lal, RSS Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh Dr Manmohan Vaidya, Akhil Bharatiya Sah Prachar Pramukh Shri Narendra Thakur, convener of Prajna Pravah Shri J. Nandakumar and many others also joined the festival in different sessions.
We are infusing Bharatiya ethos in cinema
Expressing satisfaction over the overwhelming success of the three-day film festival chairman of the Bharatiya Chitra Sadhana Shri Alok Kumar said the endeavour has been to infuse “Bharatiya” ethos in the cinema and to make the young generation of film-makers aware of it. Taking cinema out of the shadows of Hollywood and getting it close to the Bharatiya culture has been the prime motive of the entire exercise, he said adding that in the long run, not just try building a connect with our cultural values but also root the cinema creativity into it.
Short films produced by various budding filmmakers were screened at the film festival. The popularity of the festival can be understood from the fact that the festival organised in Indore in 2016 had received 300 entries, but this time the number has crossed to 700. Only 160 of the selected movies could be screened this time. The films were selected for screening and prize on eight different themes concerning the public life—Bharatiya culture and values, national and social awakening, constructive work, folk art, environment, social harmony, women and Bharatiya family system. The jury which selected the films for awards included KG Suresh, Sudipto Sen, Udia Shankar Pani, Vinod Ganatra, Advaita Kala, Asit Kumar Garg, Parvati Menon, Ujjwal Chatterjee, Shanti Prasad Agrawal, Atul Gangwar, Kuldip Sinha, Yudu Vijay Krishnan, Ritu Bhardwaj, Meenakshi Sheron and Chitra Singh.
Inaugurating the festival on February 19, Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Smt Smriti Irani said Chitra Bharati film festival has high significance as it connects the cinema with the Indian roots. “It is first attempt to connect the films with sadhana. By treating film making as sadhana we basically perform sadhana of the art. It is because of the sadhana that viewers turn to the cinema hall only because of the name of filmmakers like Priyadarshan,” she said adding that the short filmmakers should study the Indian novels and culture deeply, because the traditional Indian literature reflects the very soul of Bharat. “If the filmmakers are not aware of the Indian literature, it would not be practical for them to infuse Indianness in their films,” she said suggesting to include film production also in the next film festival.
Towards becoming the biggest film festival
Most of the films produced in the country for some time do not look Indian in any sense. Vulgarity is being served in the name of freedom of expression and for commercial gains. Cinema impacts our life hugely. Good cinema makes us good citizen, while the bad cinema leads us to wrong path. Therefore, we have decided to promote good cinema through the Bharatiya Chitra Sadhana. We have focused on short movies because we feel that the future belongs to the short movies. ‘Mera Naam Joker’ was a movie of 4.5 hours, but now even the feature films are about 1.5 hours.
Hema Malini said cinema has played a key role in spreading Hindi and Bharatiya culture across the world. Shri Arjun Rampal expressed concern that India produces largest number of movies in the world, but none finds a place in the Oscars. “The main reason of this failure is that we copy other counties in our films. And this is a fact that copied work gets recognition from nowhere. Those who produce original work based on their culture and social issues get recognition at world fora,” he said.
Bold issues have been raised through short movies
Cinema and documentaries are strong medium of changing the thinking of an individual. For several years, there has been a very distorted presentation of Indainnes, Indian culture and values through the cinematic mediums. Through Bharatiya Chitra Sadhana, we felt there is a strong need to intervene and create a platform where the filmmakers, who consciously want to show Indian culture, values and stories, can talk about true Bharat. The idea is to rope in the regional filmmakers. The regional films have done remarkablly well and they are quality films. The response from budding filmmakers is very enthusiastic. The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) has sent ten films and four of them were selected for screening. Very good films have come on environment and women issues. Marathi film Anahut has raised a bold issue related to adolescent girls. There is a film showing the plight of female soldiers. There is also a film, which talks about gender stereotypes. Many issues which do not find space in mainstream cinema were raised here.
Shri Madhur Bhandarkar congratulated Chitra Bharati for bringing filmmakers of all Indian languages at one platform. Shri Priyadarshan assured full support to the Bharatiya Chitra Sadhana and the budding filmmakers. Shri Raj Dutt recalled the time when the Indian movies used to teach through laughter, which is missing now. “It is necessary that the films spread a message also with entertainment. The prime objective of Chitra Bharati Film Festival is basically the same,” he added. Smt Manju Bora said Bharat must find prominent place in Bharatiya cinema.
The Last Monk fame director Shri Sudipto Sen taught script writing to film students and apprised them of the various secrets of film making. He said good films can be produced in low budget. He said Bharat must not vanish from Bharatiya films. Haryana Chief Minister Shri Manohar Lal applauded the role of Bharatiya Chitra Sadhana in
restoring Indianness in films.
In the beginning, Chairman of Bharatiya Chitra Sadhana Shri Alok Kumar said the film festival has been organised to promote and motivate those who want to make films based on various social issues and Bharatiya values. Shri J. Nandkumar, national convener of Prajna Pravah said people want the movies which spread a positive message through entertainment.
On day two i.e. on February 20, some cinema stalwarts taught practical aspects of filmmaking to the budding filmmakers and students. The students associated with various theaters staged some street plays also conveying the message on some social issues.
In his Master Class, noted film director Shri Madhur Bhandarkar stressed on budget before starting work on any movie. “I believe in
producing good films in low budget,” he said. Shri Manoj Tiwari told the budding stars to keep in mind that no role is small or big.
Shri Subhash Ghai advised not to develop misconception of being master of the cinema after getting some experience, as one learns throughout the life.
The film festival concluded on February 21 with the distribution of prizes to the winning films by Subhash Ghai, Chairman of Central Board of Film Certification Prasoon Joshi, Babul Supriyo, Victor Banerjee, KV Vijayendra Prasad, UV Krishnam Raju, Manoj Tiwari and chairman of Spice Jet Ajay Singh.
Marathi film Anahut produced by Shri Umesh Mohan Bagade was honoured as the best short film. Soldiers Our Super Heroes was honoured as the best animation film, while ‘I’M Jeeja’ was felicitated as the best documentary film. Umesh Mohan was felicitated as the Best Director for Anahut.
Addressing the concluding ceremony Shri Subhash Ghai said the films connected with the country, culture and mother tongue are the identity of the nation. Apart from entertainment, the films also play the role of a teacher. The cinema needs to generate awareness and sensitivity in the society. Shri Victor Banerjee stressed that we should be proud of our mother tongue and the feel of our culture and roots should reflect in our work. Rebecca Changkija Naga, filmmaker from Nagaland, said our film makers seem to be mad after shooting their films at foreign soils, whereas the North-East India and many other parts of our own country provide better locations than the foreign countries. By and large, the film festival was successful in reconnecting the Indian cinema to its roots. n