Director Girish Kasaravalli's call to shift the International Film Festival of India venue away from Goa is finding a chorus of support from many Southern filmmakers, who feel the Goa festival is virtually becoming a Bollywood tamasha.
Kasaravalli was naturally annoyed because his photograph was published as posthumous in the IFFI brochure. "This is ridiculous," the director sarcastically said. "I am still alive." Though the IFFI and Press Information Bureau officials were defensive after the blunder was brought to their notice by the Karnataka scribes covering the event, they only sent an apology late at night.
Girish Kasaravalli was justifiably fuming about the blunder. "I have won ten National Awards, and all these films have been featured in international film festivals. I am not unknown to the directorate of film festivals or the Press Information Bureau. This has happened only because the authority of festival directorate is undermined and sponsorors have taken over running the festival for commercial reasons. It is better to shift the international film festival out of Goa. Even the Chief Minister of Goa wants it to be called as Goa International Film Festival."
Tamil actor-director Cheran and award-winning Malayalam and Tamil director TV Chandran also came down heavily on the organisational arrangements made at the festival, and indicated they may not be coming again to the festival at all, if it happens again at Panaji with the IFFI tag. Both Cheran and Chandran are surprised the festival directorate has not given proper prominence with regards to publicity to south Indian films which have been selected for the Indian Panorama like Bollywood films.
"We find lack of publicity through posters in the INOX theatres screening our film, though these materials have been already sent earlier," explained Cheran. "The focus seems to be on pleasing the invitees who have come from Bollywood and most of the top directors coming from South are treated badly."
Nine films directed by Chandran -- including his first Tamil film Aadum Koothu -- have been screened at IFFI festivals earlier, but he's extremely unhappy about the Goa festival because of the profound lack of knowledge about south Indian filmmakers.
The Telugu film industry was widely represented by many top directors like Thammareddy Bharadwaj, former President of the Telugu film directors association (TFDA) and Saagar, the present President of the TFDA. Top film writers like Parachoori Gopalakrishna, Parachoori Venkateshwara Rao and producer Bellam Konda Suresh were also unhappy about the festival arrangements.
Bharadwaj summed it up, saying, "The whole festival looks oriented towards Bollywood, and these people do not think a vibrant south Indian film industry exists."