Bengaluru, Nov 19, 2018: For the first time in recent years, no Kannada film will figure in the Indian Panorama Section of the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) to be held in Goa from November 20 to 28.
Paddayi, a film in Tulu language, spoken mainly in the south-western part of Karnataka and in Kasargod district of Kerala, is the lone representative of Karnataka in the Panorama section. The film id directed by Abhay Simha.
Paddayi bagged the award for best Tulu feature film in the 65th National Film Award 2017. It was recently screened in the competition section of the New York Indian Film festival. “It is the official selection for the Pecheurs Du Monde, a festival in France dedicated to fishermen of the world. Paddayi is essentially about the fishermen community of coastal Karnataka,” said Simha.
Filmmaker T.S. Nagabharana said that of the 22 films to be screened in the feature film category, a majority were in Malayalam, followed by Bengali, Tamil, Marathi and Hindi. The feature film jury of 13 members headed by noted director and screenwriter Rahul Rawail selected films for the Panorama section.
Filmmakers in Karnataka are upset with Kannada films not figuring in the section.
Mr. Nagabharana said this was a cascading effect of the interference of the Ministry for Information and Broadcasting in film festivals. He even questioned the expertise of the jury. “More than artistic merit, it is technical quality that has dominated the selection. Content has been completely sidelined in the process,” he alleged.
N.R. Nanjunde Gowda, director of Hebbet Ramakka, a 2018 national award recipient Kannada film, also expressed disappointment. Prakash P. Shetty, producer of the acclaimed Ammachiyemba Nenapu, attributed this to ‘politics’.
However, a source in the directorate of film festival, refuted the allegations and said that criteria was ‘cinematic excellence, and selection was purely based on artistic, cinematic qualities’. The jury went purely by merit and not quota for any language, he added.
Taking a different view, director P. Sheshadri said that this ought to compel filmmakers to introspect rather than complain. “It might seem like injustice when we look at it from the point of view of language and region, but we should ask ourselves where we are going wrong or where we are behind as a film culture, compared to the other languages,” he said.