Farah calls out film fests for ignoring ‘massy’ films
Eight years after it regaled Bollywood audiences with its song and dance sequences, as well as its story about reincarnation, filmmaker Farah Khan’s (right) Om Shanti Om was recently showcased at the 37th Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF). The filmmaker, however, feels that “commercial or massy” films are largely looked down upon at film festivals in India. “When a foreign film festival honours you, I think, for us in a way, they understand your movie. They get the business aspect of your movie. But I think in India, the organisers of film festivals tend to look down upon commercial hit films,” says Farah.
The 50-year-old director’s comment only seems relevant after veteran Bengali actor Dhritiman Chatterjee, who has acted in films by auteurs as iconic as Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen, objected to Bollywood star Anil Kapoor’s ‘tapori dance’ at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.
Farah, who has made films like Main Hoon Na (2004) and Happy New Year (2014), says that it’s only ironic that “actors and commercial film directors” are invited to film extravaganzas to draw footfalls. “They (people at film festivals) want to go for the niche highbrow intellectual films, but at the same time, they want the commercial actors and directors to come for the festivals, as that’s what draws in the crowd and the press,” says Farah, who hopes that film festivals in India start showcasing a mix of commercial and non-commercial films. “I think if they had a mix of both, it would be ideal... especially if they did not ignore the good commercial movies,” she adds.