Filmmaker Meghnath, who was on this year’s National Film Awards jury, says the best part of the experience was getting to watch several inspiring movies and meeting veteran director Basu Chatterjee.
“Interacting with such veterans as Basu Chatterjee enriched my knowledge and this will always remain as one of my fondest memories,” said the Ranchi-based filmmaker who was on the seven-member jury for non-feature films headed by Aruna Raje.
The National Film Awards were announced on Monday.
While Chatterjee headed the jury for feature films, Swapan Mullick was the head of the jury that vetted some of the best writing on films.
“We viewed 173 short/documentary films in the non-feature film category. There were days when the viewing continued for over 10 hours,” Meghnath told The Telegraph over phone from Delhi before leaving for Ranchi.
Among the films Megnath liked the most were Shepherds of Paradise (Gojri/Urdu), Celluloid Man (English, Hindi, Kannada and Bengali) and Kaatal (Marathi). All of them went on to win national awards.
Shepherds of Paradise, directed by Raja Shabri Khan is about Bakrewals, a nomadic shepherd family of Kashmir. It won two awards for best non-feature film and best cinematography.
Celluloid Man , directed by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, captures the life of P. K. Nair, whose enduring love for cinema turned him into a diligent archivist, thereby creating cinematic heritage. It also won two awards for best film in biographical/historical reconstruction section and best editing.
Kaatal by Vikrant Pawar was described as a “rigorously crafted” film that explored an evolving relationship between two young people with rare maturity and restraint. It won three awards for best short fiction, best cinematography and best editing.
“For me, it was also a learning process as I saw some really good documentaries and learnt a lot about making good films,” said Megnath, who along with friend Biju Toppo, has been making documentaries for a long time now.
They won two awards at the 58th National Film Awards in 2011.
While Ek Ropa Dhan (Hindi), that deals with rice intensification, was adjudged best promotional film that year, Iron Is Hot (English), that exposed health hazards caused by the sponge iron industry, was the best environmental film.
But their most viewed work till date has been Gadi Lohardaga Mail, a delightful film that tells the story of Ranchi-Lohardaga passenger train that used to run on now defunct narrow gauge tracks through passenger interviews. The film has made it to several festivals across the world and acclaimed by film buffs.