Article Nagaland

Support us to make movies in little known languages: Actor Dinesh at KIFF

An unusual section titled Unheard India, at the Kolkata International Film Festival, brings remote parts of the country in focus, keeping little known dialects of India alive.

Sukhpreet Kahlon

Shantanu Ganguly, curator of the Unheard India section at the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF), along with filmmakers and producers associated with some of the films being screened in the section, spoke about this unusual offering and some concerns of language, cinema and viewership.

Unheard India was started at KIFF in 2015 to showcase the works of filmmakers who make films in unknown or rarely heard languages from distant parts of the country. This year, for the first time, feature films made in Nagamese, Kurmi and Lambani are being screened at the festival.

Talking passionately about the section and its significance, Ganguly said most people are unaware that these languages even exist in our country, as many of them do not even have a script. "We need to read more, we need to know more about our own society," he said.

He pointed out the lacuna in the working of the central government in not giving these languages a proper platform or supporting them. Appreciating the KIFF initiative in embracing these films, he said, "Filmmakers have so many obstacles. We are all watching films here comfortably, but we need to consider their situations before judging their films."

He highlighted the initiatives by various state governments, like those of Karnataka and Maharashtra, to support regional films and underlined the need for more governments to support such projects.

Tiakumzuk Aier, director of Nana A Tale Of Us, which is in the Nagamese language, revealed that Nagamese, a mixture of Bengali and Assamese, has no script and, as a result, the film's script was written in English. He also informed the audience that there were no cinema halls in Nagaland until three years ago, when two were opened.

Speaking about the budgetary constraints while making his film and the lack of resources he said, "My film is the first to be funded by a church! It was shot with one camera and we shot using natural light because of budget constraints. Everything was locally made and the film connected with the people when they saw it."

Nana A Tale of Us is the first Nagamese film to travel to national and international festivals.

Dinesh, actor of the Kodava-language film Kittath Preeti, spoke about the small Kodava community in picturesque Coorg in Karnataka and said every year films are being made in the Kodava language but people outside the province do not even know this.

He also spoke of Field Marshal KM Cariappa, who belonged to the Coorg region and became the first Indian commander-in-chief of the Indian army, saying, “Our contribution has been towards the defence of the country. We support India, please support us in making movies.”

Eight films are being screened in this section this year.

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Kolkata International Film Festival