Parallel cinemas in need of more revenue

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 09:  The International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), being one of the main venues for screening offbeat and parallel movies also opens the platform for sharing the stark realities faced by these cinemas. It is at this juncture that the Iranian director of the Afghanistan movie, Utopia and the Bengali director of Onyo Opala, Satarupa Sanyal shared their experience of being parallel film makers.

It is very difficult to market ‘art films’ and hard to convince the producers for shelling out money for the same. But, fortunately the Oscar nominated movie, Utopia has been well received and selected for various festivals, said the Iranian director of the Afghanistan movie, Hassan Nazar.

The directors, along with the Executive Producer of Utopia, Venugopalan Nair shared their experiences at a press meet at the Tagore theatre today.

 “I had approached various directors for producing the movie Onyo Opala, which turned out to be a failure. Finally, after a wait of four years, I decided to produce and distribute it myself,” said the actor turned director, Satarupa Sanyal.

While talking about the involvement of an Iranian director in doing an Afghanistan movie, Hassan explained how Farsi language is a common link between the two countries.

On more about the movie, Utopia, he said that the Afghan movies are more or less based on similar subjects. But Utopia is different from other movies in terms of subject and nationals involved.

The movie, based on the very sensitive subject of fertility, stands out different from the clichéd subjects.  Also, various nationals including a Malayalee have been associated with the movie. Jaipur, a place where many areas are similar to Afghanistan, was one of the movie locations along with Tajikistan, Afghanistan and UK.

“Getting Iranians to India was very challenging due to passport and background verification issues. However, we were successful in shooting the movie in Rajasthan with minimum budget, said the Executive Producer of the movie, Bangalore based Keralite, Venugoplan Nair.

However, getting the movie done was not an easy task. “While shooting in Afghanistan, the number of security guards was more than the crew itself. Also, there were murder attempts against us and the actress of our movie was threatened to withdraw from our movie,” said Hassan.

He also recalled how he had a narrow escape from the gun points of Talibans from the hotel he stayed.

The Utopia movie director said that this was his first visit to Kerala and expressed his interest to shoot a movie in Kerala.

While talking about the Bengali movie, Onyo Opala, which had a premier in the Goa film festival, Director Satarupa Sanyal said that her movie was well received among the non-Bengali audience.

The director, who was inspired by Mrinal Sen and Sathyajith Ray talks about the movie as the story of a young girl marrying a transgender.  This is the story of human relationships and demand of womanhood, Satarupa Sanyal said.

She also asserted the importance of more appreciation and fund for film makers like her in the near future.


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