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CIFF 2017: Arvind Swamy expresses concern over 'violent responses' to art

Inaugurating the Chennai film festival, the actor said India is being 'closeted as a society'.

Manigandan KR

Inaugurating the 15th edition of the Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF) at the Kalaivanar Arangam in Chennai, actor Arvind Swamy on Thursday expressed concern that works of art were evoking violent responses from some sections of society and that these voices were getting louder.

The actor, while addressing a huge gathering of film lovers and dignitaries from other countries, said that while Sanskrit poet Vatsyayana could write the Kamasutra in the second century AD, filmmakers are hesitating to shoot kissing sequences almost 2,000 years later.

He pointed out that India has no problem making films depicting violence but hesitates to make films that show love and lovemaking. The Bombay (1995) actor said he had grown up watching more films showing violence against women than love for them.

"We are getting closeted as a society," Arvind Swamy said. "Works of art seem to evoke violent responses from some sections. Those voices are getting louder and louder and are now bordering on threats."

The festival, organized by the Indo Cine Appreciation Foundation, will see 140 films from 50 countries being screened. The Square (2017) from Sweden is the opening film of the festival, which concludes on 21 December.

The festival will have a competitive section for Tamil films as well. This section will see 12 films vying for the top honour. The winner will become the closing film of the festival. The selection will be made by a three-member jury comprising well-known film critic Baradwaj Rangan, National award-winning director Vetrimaaran and veteran actor-producer-director Mano Bala.

Actress Suhasini Mani Ratnam participated in the function in two capacities, as a member of the core committee of CIFF and as honorary consul of the grand duchy of Luxembourg. She said Luxembourg is a beautiful landlocked country in Europe and the festival this year is special as a film from the country has been sent to the Oscars.

The film, Barrage, has been chosen as Luxembourg's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards. The film will also be screened at CIFF.

The actress pointed out that other state governments are supporting their film festivals with huge sums, and urged the authorities in Tamil Nadu to follow suit. "Last year, the Karnataka State Chalanachitra Academy gave Rs3.5 crore for their film festival. This year, when I asked one of the senior officials if it was going to be Rs5 crore, he said they would be allocating Rs10 crore. Even if the government here gives us half of what the Karnataka government allocates for its festival, it will be enough," she said.

The government of Tamil Nadu has awarded a grant of just Rs50 lakh to CIFF. Despite that, the festival has an impressive lineup of some of the best films from across the globe.

L Suresh, representative of the South India Film Chamber of Commerce, also stressed the issue of government support, saying other states like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka offer Rs2-3 crore for their festivals, and urged the Tamil Nadu government to consider increasing the sum being given to CIFF.

Following is the list of Tamil films selected for the 15th Chennai International Film Festival in the Competition section: 

8 Thottakkal (2017)
Aramm (2017)
Kadugu (2017)
Kurangu Bommai (2017)
Maanagaram (2017)
Magalir Mattum (2017)
Manusangada (2017)
Oru Kidayin Karunai Manu (2017)
Oru Kuppai Kathai (2017)
Tharamani (2017)
Thupparivalan (2017)
Vikram Vedha (2017)

The films chosen for the Indian Panorama at CIFF 2017 are as follows:

Newton (2017) — Hindi; Director: Amit Masurkar
Railway Children (2016) — Kannada; Director: Prithvi Konanur
Village Rockstars (2017) — Assamese; Director: Rima Das
Take Off (2017) — Malayalam; Director: Mahesh Narayan
Bishorjon (2017) — Bengali; Director: Kaushik Ganguly
Redu (2017) — Marathi; Director: Sagar Chhaya Vanjari
Idak (2017) — Marathi; Director: Deepak Gawade
Khyanikaa (2017) — Oriya; Director: Amartya Bhattacharyya
Juze (2017) — Konkani; Director: Miransha Naik
Sand Paper (2017) — Kannada; Director: B Suresh

Special Screening of Tamil Film
My Son Is Gay by Lokesh Kumar will be screened in the Special section.

Related topics

Chennai International Film Festival