Indian Panorama (Non-Feature) Directors Highlight the Challenges and the Importance OF Non-Feature Films

Bollywood Interview

The directors of the three non-feature films, Gyamo-Queen of the Mountains, Malai and Pamphlet, under the Indian Panorama Section of 49th International Film Festival of India, Goa addressed a press conference today.

Rajdeep Paul, the director of the Odia non-feature film Malai, started off by stating that children were the best actors. They are able to channelize their raw energy on to the screen. Once they get involved in the story, they create their own dialogues. During the shoot itself, one doesn’t really have to direct them, as they keep learning and improvising on their own, which is incredible.

The film Malai revolves around an impoverished little boy from a hinterland village in Odisha, who discovers the dark side of the Great Indian Wedding in his quest to get his favourite ice-cream. Sarmistha Maiti, co-director of the film, commented on the persistence of insensitive practices in the Indian society. She cited the example of people from the poor strata of the society having to carry heavy lamps-lights on their heads during wedding processions. She said that their aim was to bring to the audience this harsh reality via a more engaging medium of cinema.

Shekhar Rankhambe shared his views on the making of his short film ‘Pamphlet’ with the local child actors of a village in Maharashtra. He remarked that he loved working with children as they work with utmost honesty and affection. He said that in today’s era, forwarded text messages of a religious character can pose a threat to social harmony. In the film, the protagonist, a young boy develops a tremendous fear of misfortune after reading a religious pamphlet which he is unable to print and distribute as required due to lack of money. This fear transforms the otherwise energetic young boy who wished to reach great heights, into a mentally traumatised child.

Ms. Doel Trivedy, co-director of the wildlife documentary, Gyamo-Queen of the Mountains, talked about the state of snow leopards in the Ladakh region. A healthy population of snow leopards indicates stability in the local habitat. Therefore, by depicting the adverse effects on snow leopards and their dwindling numbers, the film delivers an honest commentary on the effects of human-induced climate change. Produced by Riverbank Studios in association with Discovery Communications India, the movie has been screened at various film festivals including IFFI. It will also be aired on Wildlife channel Animal Planet on November 27.

​Director Gautam Pandey shared his views about wildlife filmmaking & short-films. He said that more than the duration of the film, it’s the content and the kind of message that they want to promote, which is Wildlife and Environmental conservation. It is a niche area for the Indian audience. If we could bring such films to big platforms, the audience may start liking these stories as well.​

Replying to a question about the possibility of short films being screened in multiplexes apart from only film festivals, all the directors replied that it would be helpful if one could get active government support to get them screened at big screens. Closing the session, Rajdeep Paul talked about his experience at IFFI 2018 and appreciated the efficient way in which the film festival was being organized while reserving special praise for the projection quality in theatres.

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