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Northeast India International Film Festival 12th & 13th Dec 2022

Motto. Promote the Northeast region as a Potential Filmmaking Destination and open the doors to broader audience for filmmaking in Northeast India. NFDC ( NATIONAL FILM DEVELOPMENT CO-OPERATION) MD SHRI. RAVINDER BHAKAR AND Md Zahid Sharif Under Secretary Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Attended the program. Shri. pleased to attend and witness the first North East Film Festival. Thanks Ms Rebecca changkija sema . Mr. Shiraz Henry. Mohandas and others for organising the featival at this grand scale in such a short time and inviting all of us to this occasion.

I believe cinema is the only art form in the world that is truly weded to science and technology and is considered commercially viable. Cinematography as an art has indeed travelled a very long way and reached even the farthest corners of the world since the time of Lumiēre brothers. Yet, only Hollywood and Bollywood come to our mind whenever we think of film industry. Of late even I was not aware that Manipuri cinema was celebrating its golden jubilee as it recently completed its 50 years. Anyway, this is no longer relevant these days, as regional cinemas are staggeringly picking up their pace due to their unique rawness, storylines, plots, and above all livery of life.

I believe film festivals are not only platforms of entertainment but are converging points as well for different ideas and culture across the spectrum with an unguarded openness and frank discussion. It’s here where we can discuss what cinemas need from us and what we may learn from cinemas.

As regards the former, I think the Indian cinema as a whole still needs more inventiveness, more imagination, more integrity, a rooted to the ground genuineness which is uniquely and recognisably Indian and even more appreciation of the limitation of the medium. The sooner we get rid of the practice of following in the footsteps of Hollywood movies, the better, and the sooner we’d be able to establish our own kind of ingenuity in the field worthy of imitation elsewhere in the world not yet influenced by the culture of violence and abstractionism.

In other words, we need more Satyajit Rays who are willing to put their heart and soul in their work, who would be able to spell magic on silverscreen by the sheer simplicity of the stories of our own soil, showing varied and vivid beauty of our diverse culture through the lens of a camera in all its glare, who are readily inclined to take inspirations from more basic aspects of Indian life, who are consciously determined to steer clear of foreign elements and influences, and who are dexterously capable of blending the habit and speech, dress and manner of their characters to the background and foreground of their stories into a harmonious whole.

The wonder that is India has had too many stories to inspire painters, musicians, and poets all over the world. I wonder why our own film makers cannot take inspirations from these stories. Till now we have refrained to make a movie like Troy or Exodus or Ben Hur. It’s high time we tried our hand in retelling our epics and bringing their stories in life on silverscreen. In short, we need to make more movies like Mary Kom.

We are also lagging far behind in making movies specially for children, despite having a treasure trove of children’s stories in our classics like Panchatantra, Hitopdesha, Betal Pacheesi, Singhasana Bateesi, Manimekhla etc. We may have social or political animated satire of our own like Wall-E based on the stories of Krishna Chander or Radhakrishna. We may also consider reviving silent movies in India for their inexplicable timelessness and create not lesser character than Mr Bean based on the cartoons of RK Laxman. And yes, RK Narayan didn’t write only The Guide and Malgudi Days. His The Bachelor of Arts and The English Teacher may be of some use to some serious film makers.

I would restrain myself for now as I don’t want you to get bored to your bones only with rhetorics and no real deeds.

On the grounds of action, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is thinking of hosting North East Film Festival in different Cities of the country, with a view to showcase the best of North East traditions, cultures, and ofcourse, the breathtakingly beautiful landscapes to the people in different parts of the country who are yet to see them and hence not acquainted with the North Eastern part of the country. The Ministry is also thinking of giving aid to the interested film makers from North East for masterclasses in consultation and collaboration with NFDC. Further, production of animated movies based on famous personalities of the North East is another subject that is under active consideration in the Ministry that may be executed through NFDC. Interested firms/organisations/individuals who are in the field of animation may try their hand at this. The Ministry may also like to support documentary films from North East region. The Ministry may also like to give nominal aid for those film makers of the North East region whose script may have prospect to enhance the cultural/traditional impact in the country and abroad and increase the tourism potential of the Region and may also serve as an educative material about the region and its people. With these words, I would like to take your leave. Wish you all the best and this festival all the success it deserves and pray for its perennial continuation every year. I would also like the other states of India to participate in this festival to the fullest in its next edition. In the latest edition of IFFI held at Goa during 20-28 November, 2022, I happened to witness a lot of new concepts and ideas there, such as, Film Bazaar, Book to Boxoffice and Creative Mind of Tomorrow. In order to boost the North Eastern film industry, the organiser may like to emulate a few of these features in the next edition of the North East film festival.

Heartiest congratulations to the organiser of this festival who conceived the idea of this festival and got it materialised in such a short span of time. Wish you a grand success. Said Md Zahid Sharif
Under Secretary Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.