Looking back to 2009, it has been a whole range of new experiences. One of which I cherish is the opportunity to be a Jury member @ IFFK for the Hassankutty Award for Best Indian Debut Director. The Award is based on a model where the winner of the Award would be on the Jury the next year, which is the only reason I get to be on this Jury! Am happy to say that it was a really special experience.
The very first day at IFFK 2009, I find myself in a car with a member of another jury – Daniela Bisogni. After the pleasantries, I nervously blurted out that I didn’t feel quite ready “to judge a film”. Daniela looked at me and replied coolly – ” You cant judge a film – no one can or should. All one can do is to try to understand a film and its potential…”
That was my first lesson and a good one. A frank humbling thought. “Hmm… I have to rethink the process.”
Further on I met the senior members of our jury Mr.Saeed Akhtar Mirza and Dr.Mohan Agashe. Both at complete ease in their roles… after all, they have more years of film experiences than I have been around for :-). As a kid when I saw Saleem Langde Pe Mat Ro, I remember being surprised that there are films like this too! Such a departure from what one usually sees on screen and yet so moving.
It was a treat to listen to Saeed Sir’s opinions on life & filmmaking and my favourite one is “If you cant make films with passion, DONT make films – GO SELL EGGS or something!”
I had first met Dr.Mohan Agashe in Pune a few years ago to film an interview with him for a theatre documentary. But it was in Thiruvananthapuram that we interacted more and I learnt about his work as a psychiatrist too. Coupled with experience in these three fields, his take on filmmaking is also very thought provoking. Ideas about how today with the accessibility to the audiovisual medium, there are filmmakers but there are also film users. How that in itself changes the making of films. Moving the classic towards the realistic.
Both of them approached each film with humility and complete dedication. I admit I was watching them, as much as watching the films. In this time, when fingers are being pointed at Jury members and selection committees from all over the country- here were two individuals setting an example. Criticism that is constructive and insightful – Childlike glee on watching a really good film – these were the highlights of the whole process. For me, they made it a wonderfully inspiring experience. By the end of it I had learnt a lot, especially about how less I know 🙂
For such special times; Thank you 2009
The film that took us towards a unanimous decision – Harishchandrachi Factory deserves an independent blog post and will come up soon. Wishing everyone an inspiring new year in 2010!