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Bad facilities mar IFFI

Clipping (47kbs) - The Times of India, 13/01/1999. By Anon

Record Number : A0021185

Click to browse by keyword: Cinema Film exhibition Awards Cities Urban infrastructure


Bad facilities mar IFFI

Poor projection facilities, shabby auditoriums and creaky sound boxes seem to be casting a dismal shadow on the International Film Festival. If the inaugural show of Elizabeth at the Lalit Kala Thornam was the worst kind of platform for a turn-of-the-century film, then the screening of Godmother on Monday was another kind of horror story

The film, which marked the beginning of the special retrospective on Shabana Azmi, was marred by faulty projection that intermittently Went out of focus, out of frame, was inaudible, incoherent and had an irritatingly creaky soundtrack which had producer Rajat Sengupta of Gramco Films profusely apologising to the jam-packed auditorium. “This is the worst platform we could have got for the first show of the film,” confessed Mr Sengupta, promising cineastes a second screening at a better venue.

Adding to the disappointment of the viewers was the unfocused nature of the film which failed to actually make a point, neither about gender empowerment nor about caste-based politics.

Shabana Azmi, who plays the protagonist of the film, would like to believe that Godmother is actually a 1990s Mother India, a film that carries forward her endeavours to project the feminine gaze in cinema. “Be it Ankur, Saaz, Fire or Godmother, I have consistently tried to articulate the voice of all those women who are never heard in our male-dominated society,” she states.

According to her, Rambhi, the ordinary illiterate housewife who enters the world of politics in the caste-based backwaters of Gujarat, is one more articulation of this hitherto mute voice.

Ironically, Godmother turns out to be just another Godfather. For Rambhi, who learns all the tricks of politics from her husband, a victim of internecine power struggles among the closed community, continues to rule the land and her people with violence and brute power. She arbitrarily kills anyone who comes in her way, like the rest of the local political goons and dadas and even smokes the same brand of cigarettes as her deceased husband.

For Shabana, however, this seems to be a logical transformation since Rambhi is a woman who “is pushed into a male world where she enjoys very little power”. Consequently, she not only acquires their body postures but their styles of functioning too. Sad. Because eventually, all that Rambhi does is to establish her equality in a maledominated world merely by imitating the male.

Looking back on 25 years in cinema, Shabana feels she has been exceptionally lucky. “I was lucky to be there, just out of film school, when the parallel film movement started. And today, lam lucky to be around when finally films are being made with 40 plus women as their protagonists. No longer must an actress over 40 be forced to play merely the mother or the bhabhi,” she contends. However, despite all the accolades and the awards that have come her way, the actress believes she has only displayed the ABCs — the minimum qualifications of acting as yet. There is lots more to come.







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