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If cinema was not a powerful medium, there wouldn't be bans or censorship: Nandita Das at IFFK 2018

The Manto (2018) director was the guest of honour at the inaugural ceremony of the 23rd International Film Festival of Kerala. 

Shriram Iyengar

Filmmaker Nandita Das has a special place for the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK). Speaking on stage at the Nishagandhi Auditorium in Trivandrum on the opening ceremony of the 23rd IFFK, Das reminisced that her first film as actor and director, have been screened first at the Kerala film festival. 

"This festival remains a very special festival for me. My first film as an actor, Fire, was shown here 22 years ago. I have got many other films. My first directorial film, Firaaq, was shown here 10 years ago. This is the longest gap I have come back to the festival in," she said. 

The Manto (2018) director, however, focussed on the reach and influence of cinema as a medium during her short speech. 

"Times are very difficult, and we all lost a lot. We all did our little bit, and got through it. But the other attack is of the divisive forces that are dividing us on the basis of religion, caste, class, and gender. We have to fight it without being violent," Das said. 

Repeating festival director Kamal's statement, "Art forms like film play an important role in widening perspectives," Das said.

"Cinema remains the most powerful medium with us. If it was not powerful, they wouldn't try to silence us. There wouldn't be bans or censorship. I personally have suffered that over the years." 

"It has the power to subliminally go through our subconscious. It has the power to spark ideas, challenge prejudices, and tell these powerful stories where we can humanise the others," she added. 

Das was presented with the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy's film magazine, Sameeksha, by director Buddhadeb Dasgupta. 

Das' Manto is among the films set to be screened at the 23rd IFFK tomorrow. The film will be screened at Kalabhavan theatre on 8 December at 6.15pm. 

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