Article Kannada Marathi

IFFI 2017: Regrettable that Nude was not screened, says Yogesh Soman

The acclaimed Marathi writer-director, however, said it was a proud moment to have nine Marathi films in the Indian Panorama section.

Prateek Vats, Prithvi Konanur, Yogesh Soman at IFFI 2017. (Photo: Shutterbugs Images)

Blessy Chettiar

Yogesh Soman, director of Marathi film Maza Bhirbhira, said it was sad that Ravi Jadhav’s film Nude was dropped from the IFFI schedule after being chosen by the Indian Panorama jury.

Soman was speaking at a press conference for his film at the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2017 in Panaji, Goa.

The press conference was attended by Prithvi Konanur, director of Kannada film Railway Children, and Prateek Vats, director of the documentary A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings. The three films were part of the Indian Panorama at IFFI 2017.

Maza Bhirbhira is about a mute girl and how she to strives keep the memory of her martyred father alive. Railway Children is about the life of children who survive on railway platforms. In A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, director Vats visits the then 101-year-old former Mr Universe Manohar Aich in an attempt to find out about his glorious life despite his failing memory.

Soman said it was a proud moment for Marathi cinema as nine of the 20 films in the Indian Panorama section were in the Marathi language.

When sought his reaction on the film Nude directed by Jadhav being dropped from the schedule after being cleared by the jury, Soman said, “I definitely felt bad for the film. I feel proud that nine Marathi films are being screened here, but for some reason that one film could not be shown. Maybe both sides have their reasons. As a filmmaker, it is regrettable that it wasn’t chosen to be screened. It should have been selected.”

Vats highlighted how the controversies around some films was unnecessary. He was speaking about Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s Malayalam film S Durga not being screened at IFFI.

“I have been coming to IFFI for the last 10 years, as a student and now as a documentary director," Vats said. "This time is a little different because of all the controversies that have led up to the Indian Panorama section. Everything is still on the boil. We are waiting to hear whether Sanal’s film will be screened. It is not good for a festival to work under the judiciary, waiting for court orders, film directors having to take legal recourse to have their films screened.”

S Durga row: I&B ministry to convey jury desicion to high court; 'mockery of judiciary', says Sanal

Since Soman and Konanur’s films have child protagonists, they spoke about the ease of working with children. "I take exercises and theatre activities with children," Soman said. "Most children are the most natural actors. Their acting and reacting is natural, you don’t have to do anything more. What reactions they give in real life are the same they give in front of the camera.”

Echoing Soman's sentiments, Konanur said, “Kids come with an open mind and no baggage, they learn fast too. It is easier to work with children than with grown-ups.”

When asked about more films being made on children, but fewer for children, Soman and Konanur had different viewpoints. “If I make a film for children that doesn’t have a visual spectacle, they won’t watch it," Konanur said. "They are attracted to visual effects. For these you need funding and basically funding is the only problem in India. There’s content, talent and everything.”

Soman said he was not sure what children liked anymore. “I feel in a way Baahubali 1 and 2 are also children’s films. They are just like the Chandamama children’s magazine. I believe we should not categorize films especially for children. Because how an audience will respond is something you can’t predict. Maza Bhirbhira is not a children’s film, but the audience at IFFI was naturally above 12 years of age. The response was fabulous, but it’s not a children’s film. I am always confused what subjects are for children and what are not.”

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