A lot remains unseen and unheard as people make a beeline to starstudded blockbuster films. The Chandigarh Creative Cinema Circle (4C) is back in action to screen lesser seen but highly appreciated cinema in association with the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi at the fourth edition of the Chandigarh Cinema Festival.
Cinema lovers looking for content and substance instead of stardom and item numbers can find a feast for their eyes in the three-day event being organised at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, Chandigarh from August 28 (5pm) to August 30. The festival will open with the screening of Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court (2014), which premiered at the 71st Venice International Film Festival last year and received the best feature film award at the 62nd National Film Awards.
‘Court kacheri ke chakkar nahi katne’ is an oft-repeated apprehension among people and Court is a realistic tale of the sordid process of law at the lower courts in India.
The festival has an animation boost with Gitanjali Rao’s True Love Story (2014), which won the Golden Conch Best Animation Film Award at the 2014 Mumbai International Film Festival. Rao’s famed animation film Printed Rainbow (2006), which won three awards for the best short film at the Cannes Film Festival 2006, also forms part of the bouquet at the festival.
Qissa-e-Parsi: The Parsi Story (2014), directed by Shilpi Gulati and Divya Cowasji, decodes the Parsi identity and celebrates how this small community, which loves food and humour, has woven innumerable success stories into the fabric that is India. Organisers of the festival firmly believe it is possible to move against the grain in both making offbeat films and providing them a platform.
AP Mishra, 4C co-founder and one of the organisers of the festival, recounts the days when they organised the first edition of the festival at a basement hall of the Lala Lajpat Rai Bhawan in Sector 15 where there were no airconditioners. “We still struggle by starting from scratch every year but there is a firm belief that the task is doable if there is passion and hardwork,” says the gritty man who has taken a four-day leave from work at a software company to host the film festival.
The organisation follows a self-financing model by organising workshops on filmmaking, donations from generous mentors, crowdfunding and help from the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi. Workshop coordinator Sudarshan Juyal quit commercial cinema five years ago and decided to focus on films which rise above the stereotypical mould of stardom and item numbers. He defines independent cinema as ‘a medium which allows a freer and more creative expression of imagination instead of being confined by marketable shots’.
Everything is not made to be sold. Mishra strongly protests against the benchmark of commercial success for judging independent film-makers as he says, “Realism is not saleable as a commercial commodity. Such a film may become a market success story like The Lunchbox but that cannot be the goal of a film-maker with substance.”