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Getting ‘independent’ on screen

Getting ‘independent’ on screen
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India Habitat Centre (IHC) will be celebrating independent cinema and paying a tribute to legendary actress Waheeda Rehman in its annual film festival this year. ‘We have been showcasing the change in Indian cinema for the past seven years. This year we will be celebrating hundred years of Indian cinema,’ says Vidyun Singh, director Programmes, IHC.

‘Whenever people think cinema, they think Bollywood. But the trend is changing. Earlier we had a lot of cinema coming out of Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai. But this is no longer true. Independent cinema has taken the industry by storm. There are a lot of talented actors, directors, script writers making regional cinema,’ says Singh.

They did a pan-India search for fresh talent. In the recent years, they have a lot of work coming from the northeast, Punjab and other states. ‘This year we have decided to focus on independent cinema. Unlike Bollywood, independent cinema does not cater to the demands of a commercial audience or depend on box office for success. It is completely detached from the city of Mumbai,’ she adds.

The films that will be screened this year deal with a variety of themes. Political, social and personal concerns are explored.

‘The formula of Bollywood movies is not applied here. There is room for experimentation and such an environment encourages fresh ideas, techniques and paves way for a new kind of cinema,’ says Singh.

The festival wants to acknowledge artists, directors, script writers and technicians working with independent cinema and bring them to the masses who usually watch regional cinema that has been picked up by Bollywood and twisted into a masala matinee.

This year, the film festival will be showcasing national award-winning films like Deool, Vaagai Sooda Vaa, Phijigee mani, Adi Madhyant amongst others.

Vaagai Sooda Vaa is a Tamil film set in 1966 in the village of Kandeduthankaadu near Thanjavur, Tamil nadu. The film explores the plight of the poor through the protagonist Vimal. The context of the film holds true for the present day as well.

The very setting of the film in the past questions the change that the government has not been able to bring about. The story revolves around Vimal’s desire to obtain a government job and his inability to do the same. Several factors like poverty, bribery, class exploitation stand between Vimal and his goal.

Phijiee Maniis
a film from Manipur. It focuses on the complexity of modern life. The movie talks about the desire of the common man to rise above mediocrity. It explores mother-son relationship against familial commitments and personal aspirations.

Evils of extremism and bureaucratic corruption also surface during the film. The festival will also showcase Waheeda Rahman’s films like Pyaasa and Teesri Kasam as a tribute to her.

‘She is an extremely versatile actress and these films are amongst her best. They have been taken from the golden period of Indian cinema,’ says Singh.


DETAILS

Where: India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road
From: 21 July
Phone: 24682001
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