Well, while the controversies are on their way, the big question is, for whom is the festival being conducted?
A big section of the viewers have the feeling that restrictions and the ‘dictatorial’ views of the organisers dampen the popular image of the International Film Festival of Kerala. Restricting the number of delegates, ending of offline delegate pass booking etc have marred the glory of IFFK, they feel. “It was the mass participation of the public that gave a ‘popular’ image to the festival and it is this image that made it a huge hit over the years, which differentiated it from other film festivals “ says Shanavas Khan A, an office-bearer of IFFK Delegate Forum.
The opinion of a well-known filmmaker that film festivals should be for those who make films in a serious manner is ridiculous, many viewers feel. “It is through these kind of festivals that even those who have only basic taste for serious movies get the opportunity to enter the vast world of cinema. Keeping them away means denying them the opportunity to experience it,” says T K Vinodan, an environmentalist from Kollam, who has been a delegate of IFFK for the past many years.
The feeling among a section of the viewers is that offline pass booking could be stopped gradually instead of putting a sudden end to that. “For the past last 16 years, there was offline pass booking for the festival. But many missed the opportunity to get the pass this time as it was put to end all of a sudden,” says Sreedhar, another Delegate Forum office-bearer.
The forum members add that what makes things worse is the humiliating attitude of the Film Minister towards the demands of the viewers. “We had submitted a memorandum to him listing our demands. Never did he show a democratic response to that. He is a man of commercial cinema. It should be someone who loves serious cinema who should organise such a festival,’’ they said. “Whenever we went to festivals held in other places we were proud to say, ‘Come to Kerala and experience IFFK.’ But now the undemocratic attitude of the organisers would fade the image of the common man’s festival,’’ said Shanavas Khan.