Mumbai Film Festival yet to be foreigners' festival: Suhasini

Oct 27, 2010 Dibyojyoti Baksi

Mumbai, Oct 27 (IANS) The Mumbai Film Festival has become the second best such event in India, but it is not so popular among foreigners, says Indian actress-director Suhasini Ratnam, who is on the jury of the 12th edition of the gala.

'All the foreigners come to see Indian films in Goa in the Indian Panorama section (of International Film Festival of India). They come only to watch Indian films. That way Mumbai Film Festival is for the locals mainly. It's not a foreigners' festival as yet. It has to work to get more foreigners to come to see Indian films here,' Suhasini told IANS in an exclusive interview.

'Nevertheless, the content makes Mumbai Film Festival better than other international film festivals held here. It has become the second best film festival of India in a very short time. I am happy to be part of it.'

'It's not the red carpet that makes the film festival big, neither the awards make it big nor the coverage by international press. The choice of films and standard of films here is much above any other festivals and that makes it a better festival,' said Ratnam.

The actress, who is married to ace Southern director Mani Ratnam, feels Indian films will go global only when Indian audience will stop enjoying larger-than-life protagonists in films.

'No, we cannot go global because our sensibilities are very, very Indian. It's a big risk to go beyond Indian sensibilities, totally different from life and has no similarities to life. They are very unrealistic but it works for Indian audience. As long Indians are going to enjoy larger-than-life protagonist films, Indian films are not going to go global,' said Ratnam.

The opening ceremony of 12th Mumbai Film Festival witnessed a handful of mainstream film stars and directors. The actress says it is same across the globe and also mentioned that unlike Trivandrum and Calcutta, Mumbai doesn't have film viewing culture.

'In any film festival across the world, the mainstream directors don't come, unless they are given the top most platform and honour. But it is not like that in Trivandrum or Calcutta. They (actors and directors) come wearing rubber sandals. In Mumbai, there is no film viewing culture like in Calcutta and Trivandrum. Unless that comes, number of Bollywood actors attending the inauguration or watching films won't be much.,' she noted.

'Like the best of films are made in Los Angeles, but you will find DVDs of those films more in New York and Boston. Same way, the best of world cinema DVDs are not found in Mumbai, but in Trivandrum and Calcutta. You will see Mammootty and Mohanlal at international film festivals, but I haven't seen Amitabh Bachchan or Shah Rukh Khan watching international films,' said Ratnam.

When asked what are the qualities she is looking in first time director's film, Suhasini said: 'If you are making a film for the first time, you have all the problems, all the fears, yet you have the freedom that you will never regain in life. The 14 films that I am going to see have to have freshness like a new born child and not bother how to react to the world or survive in the world. I am looking for that one quality in all first time director's films.'

Suhasini Maniratnam Pictures


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