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Interview: ‘Nasir’ director Arun Karthick on Panchajanyam movie competition, OTTs, and extra Specific Instances

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Arun Karthick
| Photograph Credit score: Particular Arrangment

The 14th version of the Panchajanyam Worldwide Movie Competition will begin on February 2 on the Kairali-Sree Theatre in Chittoor, Palakkad. It may not be the largest of movie festivals- it doesn’t boast a star-studded visitor record or visits of auteurs from overseas – but it, and different small-scale festivals, are important for a movie neighborhood’s development. Kerala, particularly, has extra of those festivals. This must be correlated to the state’s status for persistently creating critically acclaimed mainstream cinema. A minimum of, that’s what Coimbatore-based filmmaker Arun Karthick believes. Arun, who made the beautifully poignant Nasir (an impartial Tamil movie gained the NETPAC award for Finest Asian Movie on the Worldwide Movie Competition of Rotterdam), will curate the Indian Experimental Cinema part at Panchajanyam. 

On this interview, Arun discusses the significance of movie festivals, the rising affect of streaming platforms on Indian cinema, the difficulties of being an impartial filmmaker, and extra.


On this age the place movies from internationally can be found on-line, what function do movie festivals play in selling movie tradition?

Lately, my movie consumption on laptops and tv has diminished my closeness with cinema. To rekindle that connection, I need to watch extra movies on the massive display screen. Savouring movies on the massive display screen considerably differs from watching them in your laptop computer or telephone. As a result of, within the latter, you are likely to pause, get distracted, and never see the movie in a single stretch. Watching in a single sitting enhances the impression and extends the memorability of the cinematic expertise. You are able to do this at movie festivals, the place you additionally get to work together with filmmakers from completely different cultures. So, movie festivals, in a approach, are cultural confluences. They’re additionally essential as a result of they characteristic curations of cinema. Curators supply a historic perspective to cinema. They juxtapose movies from completely different eras for example the evolution of cinema in particular areas. 

What are your ideas on the rising affect of streaming platforms on Indian cinema?

Whereas streaming platforms initially appeared promising, they now seem to have misplaced their attraction amongst movie lovers. The abundance of mediocre movies on these platforms has remodeled them into what seems like ‘web tv’. Mainstream platforms prioritise amount over high quality, usually neglecting fascinating and authentic narratives. These platforms, performing as quasi-monopolies, hinder the emergence of different portals showcasing distinctive works.

The potential for significant makes an attempt and narratives with integrity and originality is absent. Even when it comes to sequence, the area already feels uninspiring. The huge content material on these platforms makes it difficult for viewers to recollect what they’ve watched, and the expertise lacks the cultural significance of theatre.

The theatre area is now primarily related to large industrial movies. So, the attraction and communal expertise of watching ‘small’ movies on the display screen is prone to being misplaced.

Are you saying the area for experimental movies is shrinking even on OTT platforms? 

Completely. The rising censorship inside OTTs can also be regarding. Even with Nasir, we face an enormous subject with its OTT screening. These platforms simply settle for no matter the federal government and the censor board want. As of now, there’s much less area for fascinating impartial movies. It’s unhappy. Filmmaking, a robust mode of dissent, loses impression when OTTs need to play it protected and conform to the federal government.

Do you suppose Indian cinema adequately displays the range and complexities of Indian society? 

Yearly, intriguing movies emerge from numerous components of India, addressing cultural, political, and dissenting themes in documentaries and impartial fiction. Nevertheless, the problem lies in insufficient distribution, hindering these voices from reaching a broader viewers. Regardless of the colourful storytelling strategies employed, mainstream media largely ignores these works. Once more, because of this festivals just like the Panchajanyam Worldwide Movie Competition are important. This 12 months, they’ve a program to showcase how experimental quick movies have traditionally subverted accepted norms, highlighting filmmakers grappling with ahead-of-their-time concepts. Whereas there are distinctive Indian movies, they’re hampered by the shortage of help for regional cinema and restricted distribution avenues.

‘Past Lives’ will be one of the films screened at the Panchajanyam International Film Festival

‘Previous Lives’ will probably be one of many movies screened on the Panchajanyam Worldwide Movie Competition
| Photograph Credit score:
Particular Association

Do you imagine within the division of mainstream and arthouse cinema? What makes a cinema ‘arthouse’ or ‘mainstream’?

Movie classifications, usually assigned by journalists and distribution brokers to provide movies an id, don’t align with my perspective as a movie fanatic. Whereas some classifications make sense, like labelling a movie industrial or artwork home primarily based on its viewers attain, these distinctions are arbitrary. Movies labelled ‘artwork movies’ could entice a major viewers and generate income, whereas mainstream movies meant for broader viewership could wrestle in theatres.

The identical ambiguity applies to phrases like impartial and trade movies. Genres, budgets, and labels like low-budget, artwork home, or human drama usually fail to seize a movie’s essence. Even phrases like fiction and documentary turn into complicated when the boundaries between actuality and expression are blurred throughout the body.

I imagine in every movie’s distinctive id, resisting the constraints imposed by typical classifications which can be usually challenged and blurred by filmmaking.

Due to technological development, making movies is extra inexpensive than ever. Nevertheless, there’s extra competitors and restrictions. How simple or tough is it to turn into an impartial filmmaker in India?

Whereas technological developments have made filmmaking extra accessible, the problem lies in exhibiting, distributing, and promoting the movies. The supply of varied cameras, from cinema to cell phone cameras, with 4K capabilities permits for various storytelling strategies. Impartial movies may be made with small crews and minimal budgets, but the necessity for funds arises in sure circumstances. As an example, once we made Nasir, an impartial movie, we wanted to arrange the protagonist’s world and an aesthetically and technically sharp group. So we had to spend so much on the movie.

The dynamics of filmmaking and its economic system have turn into extra accessible, as evident in a movie we shot in Amsterdam utilizing small cameras and bicycles. But, the essential function of a producer in Indian impartial filmmaking is underdeveloped, as they play an important function in positioning, distributing, and advertising and marketing the movie. The necessity for inventive producers who can suppose strategically and create efficient distribution fashions is emphasised for impartial filmmakers to make significant contributions to the movie tradition.

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