Wednesday, July 15, 2020


Time to bid farewell to festivals: Aruna Vasudev

February 08, 2020 03:58 PM

BHUBANESWAR:Recipient of the French Officer of the Order of the Arts and Letters honour, Aruna Vasudev, a name synonymous with film criticism and film festival curation in India, and one of the country's foremost writers on cinema, feels it's now time to stop getting involved with festivals and just concentrate on writing and Japanese painting.

"It's tough for me to travel now. It has been a long and satisfying innings, " she smiles, while we sip tea at a roadside stall on a rainy day in Bhubaneswar.

In the city as the Director of the two-day 13th International Film Festival on Art and Artists organised by the JD Centre of Art, which will witness 48 films from 17 different countries, Vasudev is pleased that over the decades, several film festivals have come up in different parts of the country, especially in smaller towns.

"This is an excellent development. Seeing intimate film festivals emerging gives me a lot of hope. Not only do they promise a never-before exposure of world cinema to residents of those cities, but are also instrumental in giving an impetus to the local economy."

Between conversation about films which she considers "great", Vasudev, a doctorate from the University of Paris on cinema and censorship, feels that democratisation of technology has lent an entirely new dimension to the art of filmmaking.

Stressing it is paramount that it be encouraged at every platform, she adds, "Seeing youngsters shooting movies on minimal budgets, sometimes even with their phones is heartwarming. Now money and budget is not what is stopping many. Those who have a story to tell can actually think of giving it a shape."

While several film magazines, concentrating on actors' personal lives may still be thriving, the curator and critic does not sound very optimistic about a serious publication like 'Cinemaya', which she produced. "Yes, people still ask about it and talk about Cinefan, the Asian film festival. But at the end of the day, it boils down to market forces and money in order to survive and sustain."

Trained in cinema at the prestigious La Fémis Film School in France, where she first encountered European cinema from across the continent, this 'Star of Italian Solidarity' awardee feels that the Film & Television Institute of India's (FTII) initiative to take capsule courses in different departments of film across the country is a major development.

"This way, they will be able to incite an interest in the medium, also among people who may never get a chance to study film formally. This is a huge country with a massive population, therefore improvisations like these are the need of the hour."

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