On Day 8 of the 51st edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) at Goa, celebrations began to commemorate Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary.
The festival organised a special screening at the festival venue of Shyam Benegal’s 2005 film Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero. With this, the film festival joined the nation and the world in celebrating the life and selfless service of India’s indomitable freedom fighter. Festival Director Chaitanya Prasad noted, “Netaji remains one of the most beloved national heroes and a towering icon of India’s freedom struggle. On the 125th birth anniversary of the great freedom fighter, we fondly remember Netaji’s unparalleled contribution to the country.”
Films on life and afterlife
Marathi film Karkhanisanchi Waari (Ashes on a Road Trip) by director Mangesh Joshi was screened in the Indian Panorama segment. Producer Archana Borhade and actors Geetanjali Kulkarni and Pradeep Joshi attended the screening. The film features a Karkhanis family based in Pune and depicts what follows when the eldest patriarch passes away and the siblings and son undertake an eventful journey to disperse his ashes as per his final wish.
Another film that was screened in this segment was Prawaas. During a press conference, Prawaas director Shashank Udapurkar, while speaking about his film said, “Prawaas is a story of someone who realises his ‘why’ and finds out his time on earth is limited.”
Prawaas is the journey of an elderly couple, played by Ashok Saraf and Padmini Kolhapure. The male protagonist knows he has some time to live his life and that he, like everyone else, isn’t immortal. It’s then that he realises that there are so many who need help and starts to help them, and his acts of generosity bring a sense of satisfaction.
Making of independent films
During a virtual ‘In Conversation’ session with filmmaker Chaitanya Tamhane on the topic ‘Making of Independent Films’, the filmmaker said, “90 per cent of a Director’s work is that of a manager.” The session was moderated by Bollywood Hungama’s Faridoon Shahryar.
Noting the problems faced by independent filmmakers, Tamhane added, “Finance is a problem for most independent filmmakers. Multiple variables help in zeroing in on a budget. Shooting in a place like Mumbai will, of course, be costlier. It also depends a lot on the working style of the Director. Independent filmmakers need to spend more responsibly. I personally assert a lot of control on financial aspects of filmmaking.” He spoke on several issues affecting independent filmmakers such as choosing the subject, importance of a script, casting, language, etc. “The writing part is a lonely process,” opined the director.
Ashmita Guha Neogi’s 21-minute film CatDog was screened as part of the Indian Panorama Non-Feature Film category. Produced by Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), the film is about a brother and sister who support each other through the tricky phases and changes of pre-adolescence.
The siblings live in an imaginative world of their own. Their mother, who has no time to spend with the children, is oblivious to the fanciful imaginative world. One day, she breaches into their world, threatening its very existence.
Ashmita is an alumnus of FTII, Pune and the writer of the film. It was in 2016, when the idea struck Ashmita, then a second year student at FTII, she converted into a short film and submitted as her final year project at FTII.
CatDog happens to be the only Indian movie to be selected for the screening at the 73rd annual Cannes Film Festival in 2020. Interestingly, the film was shot in 2018 in Pune in ten days. The film has the involvement of other FTII graduates that include director Ashmita Guha Neogi, cinematographer Prateek Pamecha, editor Vinita Negi and sound by Kushal Nerurkar.