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News Marwari Rajasthani

Twirl your moustache and feel proud to be Rajasthani: Singer Ravindra Upadhyay

Filmmakers and artists come together at the Rajasthan international Film Festival to discuss ways to promote Rajasthani cinema.

Photo: Courtesy the Rajasthan Film Club

Sukhpreet Kahlon

The mesmerizing desert landscape, scenic locales, royal palaces and lakes have made Rajasthan a stunning location for film shoots. Yet, hardly any films are made in Rajasthani languages.

At the sixth Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF) in Jaipur, filmmakers, music directors and artists from the state came together to contemplate the lack of films in local languages and try to offer solutions.

Talking about the enduring quality of music in Rajasthani cinema, KC Maloo, owner of Veena Cassettes, spoke about the history of cinema and the advent of the talkie, when music became integral to cinema. “From the time of the talkies, music has been an integral part of our films," Maloo said. "Even in Rajasthani films like Baba Sari Laadli, the film does not exist today but the songs are still remembered and the music still resonates.”

Singer Ravindra Upadhyay shared some perspectives on the lack of growth in the regional Rajasthani film industry. “This is an old question," he said. "Till the time we are not proud of our language, till that time no music or films in our language will be successful.”

Looking at the current scenario, however, he said, “With digital platforms, there is some hope as there is a good response towards new music and Rajasthani albums.”

Addressing the audience, he exhorted, “Twirl your moustache and feel proud to be a Rajasthani.”

The moderator for the session, Anshu Harsh, pointed out that even though films like Parched (2015), Dhanak (2015) and, recently, Turtle (2018) used the magnificent locales of Rajasthan as their setting, local films are unable to draw crowds to the theatres.

Filmmaker Manzur Ali Qureshi said budgetary constraints pose a huge problem as production quality suffers on account of low budgets, which becomes a huge impediment in attracting viewers. He shared Upadhyay’s concerns and said, “It’s a sad situation today that we do not speak Rajasthani... People ask me why I continue to make Rajasthani films. If we don’t do it, who will?”

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Rajasthan International Film Festival