It's the time to rejoice for 'Dharm' director


By Arpana

New Delhi, Oct 30 (IANS) "Eklavya" is out of the Indian Panorama section of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) next month, but director Bhavna Talwar's "Dharm" is in. For Bhavna, who challenged in court the nomination of the Vidhu Vinod Chopra multistarrer "Eklavya" as India's entry to the Oscars, this is a moment of sweet vindication.

"After all that happened, I feel absolute joy because my film will be screened at IFFI and people are going to watch it. It will travel to all sorts of festivals and countries. A lot more people are going to see the film, which is a filmmaker's ultimate objective," said an excited Bhavna.

The 38th IFFI kicks off in Goa on Nov 23, and her "Dharm" made it to the final list from 160 films.It's a vindication of sorts for Bhavna, who took on the big and mighty of Bollywood by petitioning the Bombay High Court.

"I have not dropped the case. In the next hearing, FFI (Film Federation of India) is expected to provide a proper selection process. That's my ultimate aim. However, I have let 'Eklavya' proceed to the Oscars," Bhavna told IANS.

"I think the sort of films that are regularly being selected for the Panorama section over the years have been serious, good films. So, the fact that my film is there gives me a boost in terms of my career as a director - as people will take my work and me seriously," she added.

Set against the backdrop of the holy city of Varanasi, "Dharm" is a film about the misinterpretation of religious beliefs. Veteran actor Pankaj Kapur plays the protagonist in the gritty drama, which was premiered at the 60th Cannes International Film Festival and will now participate in all national and international film festivals as the government's official entry.

"Dharm" got a good response at Cannes, but the director laments that good films are not getting recognition in their own country.

"Foreigners identify with our films but they don't take mainstream cinema seriously. But even in that they are opening up as there were films like 'Lage Raho Munna Bhai' and 'Guru' in the same section (Tous Les Cinemas du Mondeand) where my film was shown.

"Other than that, art house films like Rituparno Ghosh's 'Dosar' and the Tamil film 'Veyil' were screened. So, it was an eclectic mix of films. The thing is that when people from other countries can find our films, why can't we find them ourselves."

Asked about her future plans, she said: "I am working on a couple of scripts. I am developing a story which Pankaj Kapur has written. It talks about a man's loneliness in a big city."