The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Red faces over vulgar songs at children’s fest

Hyderabad, Nov. 15: The rendering of vulgar Telugu songs by young boys and girls at the inaugural of the 13th International Children’s Film Festival here has led to several red faces.

The controversial programme, staged at the end of the cultural show marking the start of the festival yesterday, left Raveena Tandon, newly-elected chairperson of the Children’s Film Society of India, squirming with embarrassment. Raveena expressed regret at the incident, taking responsibility for the lapse, which the Andhra Pradesh government ought to be answering for since the show was put up by the local organisers.

Raveena, who took over on October 6 as society chairperson from Sai Paranjpe, said: “That show was not in the schedule till late in the day. I don’t know how it came to be included.”

The offending programme included a piece by 25 children led by Telugu actor Tarun. The group, featuring some scantily clad members, gyrated indecently to songs like Dayi Dayi Dama (from the Chiranjeevi-starrer Indra) and Kottithe sixer kottu (from Aadi, starring .T. Rama Rao’s grandson) replete with innuendoes that embarrassed representatives of the Telugu film industry at the inauguration at the Lalitha Kala Thoranam.

A local film critic said there was no need for Raveena, best remembered for a racy song-and-dance sequence from the Hindi film Mohra, to apologise. He said the Andhra government should express regret for the songs.

The film festival has had its fair share of sex and violence. One offending film is the Israeli movie Underwater. A critic said the organisers should have had a classification specifying which age group could view a particular film.

Festival organisers said Iran entered 12 films, but few were put up for viewing. Iranian films have bagged the Golden Elephant (awarded to the Best Film) at the last three festivals.

The presence of so many Indians on the seven-member jury panel has also been criticised. “It appears that there were three Indians in the international jury section — B. Narasinga Rao, Asha Parekh and Revathi. How can we call it an international jury,” a film critic said.

Actresses Parekh and Revathi are on a jury for the first time.

The festival has not got due attention because the Andhra government has been preoccupied with dissolving the Assembly and holding early elections.

Many children’s film buffs are also unhappy that the society has not taken the initiative to have its own complex in the city despite government patronage. Hyderabad is the permanent venue for international children’s film festivals.

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