Children’s film fete from today
By Gautaman Bhaskaran
HYDERABAD, Nov. 13.
Once again, Hyderabad will play host to the International Film Festival for Children and Young People, which begins its 10-day run tomorrow. An event held every other year, the fete was organised in Hyderabad in 1995.
A few months ago, it was decided that Hyderabad would be the permanent venue, and for a Festival that has been touring for many years now, this could have only come as welcome news. The Andhra Pradesh Government has given 10 hectares for a children's movie complex that will include theatres, studios and even a museum. To be built by the Centre at a cost of Rs. 30 crores, it will also hold film appr eciation courses.
Hyderabad is certainly a great city ran activity of this kind, and it does call for vision to envisage a film complex that will promote, in just about every respect, good cinema, interesting cinema for the young, starved as they are of healthy entertainment. One hopes that the National Centre of Films for Children and Young People, which conducts the Festival, will promote better cinema for tomorrow's citizens.
The Centre's Executive Director, Mr. Suit Tandon, is sure that it will, and cites the example of this year's Festival to show that things are already beginning to happen.
Talking to The Hindu here this morning, he said the Competition section, with about 25 features and about 30 shorts, was very strong.’ ‘We have some excellent pictures from a wide range of countries. We have a wide range of styles and genres. They are all recent works made roughly during the past 24 months. A few are slightly older, but were included because they were good, and had not been seen earlier in any of the Festivals.” Mr. Tandon says the American majors were in Competition for the first time. Usually, they are interested in sections like Information and “Special Screenings”. Chris Noonan’s “Babe” (won the Oscar for the Best Visual Effects), Carrol Ballard’s “Fly Away Home” and Caroline Thompson’s “Buddy” are from the U.S. “It is nice to know that the big American studios are keen on competing in India”.
India's “Little Soldiers” (by Ganga Raju) and “Damu” (by Raja Sen) will be two of the feature entries in Competition, where Bangladesh,China. Canada, Argentina, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Portugal and Russia will be represented as well. In the Competition for shorts, India has three entries.
The Information section, which appears smaller than the one in the past, has movies from India as well. There is, at least, one controversial entry here, Vadiraj’s “The Other Face”, a Kannada film that was rejected by the Panorama Jury a few weeks ago. Although produced by the National Centre, there has been a sense of outrage at such projects being funded by the Mumbai-based Centre.
The third section, Asian Panorama, programmed by Cinemaya, has China, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea and India on its bandwagon. India has four films here.
Mr. Tandon said films shot during the last two years only were allowed. “We have also made sure that there are no repeats. There have been such incidents in the past”.
Besides these, there is a retrospective of films made by and for the National Centre over the years. Important directors like Satyen Bose (with his “Anmol Tasveer”), Tapan Sinha (“Sabuj Dweeper Raja), MS. Sathyu (“Kala Parvat”), K.A. Abbas (“ID Mubarak”), Nitin Bose (“Char Dost”), Mrinal Sen (“lchhapuran”), Sai Paranjpye (“Sikandar”) and Shyam Benegal (“Charandas Chor”) have been included here.
Mr. Tandon feels that the retrospects will truly commemorate India's 50 year's of Independence, and the National Centre has existed for 42 of these. Many of these works are hardly ever seen today, and the Hyderabad Festival will be an excellent place to showcase them.