I don’t like to miss any film festival, if I can manage to attend it. And have been attending the famed International Film Festival of India (IFFI) since 1999. After it was located permanently in Goa, I started getting my mass communication students as entire batches.
It was good, initially. But I also had an inkling of other international film sizeably big festivals like of Kerala, Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore. Over the years, I have noticed and many others have supported my suspicions : IFFI has been missing the mark. It has been steadily but surely degenerating into a show of tax-payers’ money power. Since it is heavily funded by the Government of India, besides supported handsomely by corporates, money is not an issue at all. So, there you go!
In the last few year, IFFI has brought in a ridiculous rule: ticketing! Cinebuff need not pay for their tickets, but have to stand in queues and book their tickets. That paved the way for controlling (or , politically speaking, dictating) how much a cinefan watches.
Now, I guess for the last three years, the organisers of IFFI have decided that cinefans should not watch more than THREE films a day in a film festival! Can a film festival get more ridiculous than this? If not for watching and enjoying, why else is a film festival (for cinefans) held?
Like the festivals I have participated in, and the way IFFI itself did it earlier, why can’t it permit us to view whatever and however much we want to? Follow the first-come-first-served policy. Once the hall is full, close the doors; let the later-comers view whatever is available to them on the menu, next. But restricting viewings is irrational, and brings disrepute to a country already facing the heat for its ‘don’t see’, ‘don’t speak’, ‘don’t eat’, ‘don’t go with xyz’, etc. totalitarian policies.
The overall feel of IFFI, this year was melancholic – thanks to Narendra Modi’s hitting in our stomachs with his demonitisation; people don’t have money. Hence, very few people. Then, like the very melancholic feel of many of the films, there was a very dull, pessimistic feeling at the poor organisation of IFFI. Frad Sayb (St Francis Xavier), pray for us!