For the first time, a bouquet of six Bengali films is being screened at the 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which began in Goa on November 23. The six films — Shob Charitra Kalponik, Madly Bangalee, Antaheen, Angshumaner Chhobi, Janala and Aainate — will be shown in the Indian Panorama section.
Its an interesting mix. These are not really the typical festival films. I think the way films are being selected for festivals has changed. Theres a healthy co-existence of mainstream and parallel, says Angshumaner Chhobi director Atanu Ghosh, who feels the exposure will make it easier to release Tolly films in Mumbai and Delhi. Theres a sizeable audience for Bengali films in Delhi and Mumbai, and I hope we can tap that soon. Angshumaner Chhobi is the only Tolly entry in the competitive section.
Madly Bangalee maker Anjan Dutt echoes: For me showing films at festivals is not enough, it must be coupled with distribution. It feels good when films are selected for festivals but only a handful get to see them, he says, having released The Bong Connection in Mumbai and Delhi. But the fact that so many films are being shown means Tollywood is making good cinema.
Antaheen maker Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury feels that IFFI is the only platform in India to showcase Bengali films to the world market. I am very happy that out of 700 only 25 films make it to the Panorama, and six from here is nothing less than a record for our industry, he says, while making Goa plans.
Rituparna Sengupta, who will attend the Goa festival with her Aainate co-star Rati Agnihotri, says: Aainate is a commercial film but it also carries a message. Half-a-dozen films from Tollywood proves that our industry has progressed.
Newcomer Indraneil Sengupta feels the screening of two of his films, Angshumaner Chhobi and Janala, will cement his position in Tollywood. I am flying high! Its a big deal for an actor who has just started out. I hope more directors outside Bengal will cast me in their films now, he says.