FILM Bazaar, the platform where, earlier, Yash Raj Films, UTV and Zee picked up Dum Laga Ke Haisha, The Lunchbox and Killa respectively, is back with its ninth edition. The brain child of Nina Lath Gupta, managing director of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), the event is a hotpot of activity with indie films being showcased for the purpose of being backed or bought by big banners or collaborations with the international film fraternity. We catch up with Gupta as she is gearing up for this year’s Bazaar. Right at the onset, the lady who turned NDFC (which falls under the ministry of information and broadcasting) from a `12 crore-turnover organisation to one bringing in `250 crores, asks me, “Is this interview about the Film Bazaar or me? I’d like it to be more about the Bazaar please.” That’s the kind of woman she is. Highlighting the mission, when she took over the reins of the organisation in 2006, she says, “NFDC was a very relevant organisation in the 60s and 70s. I wanted to reinforce that and make it a relevant industry.”
On the growing popularity of indie films, the 50-year-old hopes to see Indian cinema transcending language barriers. Known to curate films with global value, she adds, “The audience is determining the fate of a film. There is acceptability and demand for different kinds of stories and storytelling—like The Lunchbox and BA Pass. Also, distributors are more open to working with different films.” Island City (Ruchika Oberoi) was one movie that the Film Bazaar helped and NFDC saw through. “It was difficult to make it a commercially successful movie. It did win an award at the Venice Film Festival 2015,” she observes.
With over 300 films in 21 languages this time, Gupta informs us that the Film Bazaar’s format has evolved since it was first started in 2007. For example, this year, they have added a Film Tourism Workshop. “It looks at promoting India as a destination for shooting films, a priority for the government.” An open-to-public segment, called the NFDC Knowledge Series, will also see music composer AR Rahman, directors Kabir Khan (Bajrangi Bhaijaan), Anurag Kashyap (Gangs of Wasseypur) and several others talk and interact with the audience. “I am grateful for the support we are receiving from the film industry. It is a very positive indicator of the fact that we are on the right track,” she concludes.
The Bazaar will be held along with the International Film Festival of India, in Goa. At the Goa Marriott Resorts, from today till November 24. Details: 8322463333
— Seema Rajpal