Festivals give independent filmmakers an opportunity to showcase talent: Nandita

The lady has always been admired for her skills in front of the camera but very few know that she received enough critical acclaim even for her directorial debut Firaaq. Yes, we are talking about actor Nandita Das.

She is often compared to the yesteryear actor Smita Patil for her looks and complexion, besides the kind of roles she has portrayed on the silver screen. Das will soon be seen with husband Subodh Maskara in upcoming Spanish film, Traces of Sandalwood that will go on floors in a month’s time. The film will be shot in Mumbai and Barcelona.

“I will be in Barcelona at the end of the month. The last time I was there I happened to have the best meal of my life at the Roca brothers’ El Somni,” said Das at the inauguration of the Mumbai Film Mart on 18 October.

Das added, “The most interesting part of the movie is that it has an all-woman crew, not just in front of the camera but also behind it. It’s so wonderful to see a woman cinematographer and a woman art director.”

Das finds it really encouraging to see this kind of a platform being provided to young talented filmmakers these days. “Having done close to 30 movies - of which the majority have been in the independent space - I don’t even have the DVDs for most of the films because of various issues around their release,” remarked Das.

I always try and champion independent films and try and create more space for them says Nandita Das

The independent filmmakers suffer the most because of either not having the skills; or because of being unaware of the know-hows; or lack of space or platform to release or showcase their films. “Even without having much knowledge of the market space, I directed Firaaq and faced a lot of hurdles. But having said that, I always try and champion independent films and try and create more space for them,” said Das. According to her, all these various festivals that are now becoming a common phenomenon in various parts of the country is a very good sign for upcoming filmmakers.

“We need to learn more about world cinema and get out of our little well. We do make nearly 1,000 films a year, but are we really proud of all of them?” she remarked and went on to state: “Just like how we learn about new places by travelling, films are a great way to open up the mind and be less prejudiced and get into people’s heads and hearts.”

“A festival is a great platform for independent filmmakers like us to meet people and understand how to go about taking our film to different parts of the world,” she added. Das went on to explain that there exists a mindset where only a few film festivals are considered prestigious and if the film makes it to that fest then it’s good, else it is not. “Well, that should not be the case, as any festival is a great place to showcase your creativity that you thought of and then translated it onto the screen,” she said.

Nandita says that she has been fortunate to travel with her films to various parts of the globe. “I don’t get to shoot in these beautiful locals but thankfully I do get to travel to numerous festivals be it big or small. And the one thing you learn is that human emotions and stories are universal,” Das remarked.

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