Mumbai Mirror, Sunday, February 10, 2008
“City of Dreams”
Dimensions Mumbai, a competition for short films based on Mumbai, seeks to discover the city’s true spirit
The Mumbai Academy Of Moving Images is dedicated to promoting “meaningful cinema.” To this end the International Film Festival Mumbai was launched ten years ago. This year to mark its anniversary Dimensions Mumbai, a competition for short films on the city is being introduced. The festival, ideated and sponsored by Jaya Bachchan, one of the trustees of MAMI, is open to students and media professionals below the age of 25. Govind Nihalani, another active trustee of the organisation is enthusiastic about the initiative. Excerpts from an interview:
Yes in my films like ARDH SATYA, AAGHAAT, DEV and even DEHAM which was set in Mumbai-2022, Mumbai was a character by itself.
That today one doesn’t see the city play any significant role in our films is a fact.And I shall not attribute it entirely to the problems of shooting in the city, which incidentally are enormous. I would think that most of the film makers’ concerns are different and the city doesn’t find any place in their agenda. On another level, filmmakers today perhaps take the city as the ‘given’. But that is not the end. I would like to believe, every now and then a film maker inspired by some aspect of the city, malls and all, will come up with his unique response to it.
So much has been said about this city. Isn’t there a danger of inviting insipid clichés in a competition like this?
The rationale of selecting this subject was that the young filmmakers should be encouraged to discover the city beyond the very clichés that you mention. And besides, IFF-Mumbai is the festival of our own city and what better subject than exploring different dimensions of Mumbai cinematically?
A lot of good ideas fall flat cinematically if the right technology is not available. We have hardly any initiatives to make good equipment available at subsidized rates for independent filmmakers. Then is a festival like this really free for all?
Frankly I would like to look at the positive side of it. Digital technology is quite affordable today.
Besides, technical quality is not the only deciding factor in the competition- the vision and the originality of ideas and technique will be given greater emphasis. And we hope that the award money will encourage the winners to acquire better equipment etc. for their future work.
What about the future? Do you see independent cinema becoming a viable alternative to Bollywood for these filmmakers?
I see lot of hope for the future. The mainstream Hindi cinema, (I hate the term Bollywood!), has been evolving and will continue to do so. The new generation will bring it’s own sensibility to it. The alternative cinematic sensibility will have to struggle to find its place, like in the past. But it is comparatively easier today to make a ‘different’ kind of film in India, with new technology making the process more economical. One would imagine DIMENSION MUMBAI to be the platform for showcasing the talent of some exciting new filmmakers!