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    Indian films are fresh and relevant, says writer Andrew Anastasios

    With films like Saif Ali Khan’s Phantom, Umrika and The Lunchbox being screened at the fourth edition of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM), we speak with Andrew Anastasios, scriptwriter of the Water Diviner, who is part of the jury this year. Looking forward to watching Byomkesh Bakshi and Unfreedom, Anastasios feels that India is making films that are fresh, vibrant and more relevant than Hollywood films. “Would you rather see a Piku or Avengers #10? Indian filmmakers are challenging traditional values and social norms, and are meeting the world head-on,” says the writer, adding that Hollywood seems to have forgotten that we don’t need to spend a fortune on CGI and an A-lister to tell an engaging story.
    He also feels Indian filmmakers have a lot to teach the world. “They take on big ideas and are not afraid to challenge the status quo. Take Margarita with a Straw. The determination to not sugarcoat the experiences of a young woman with a disability had a profound effect on me,” he says, adding that the challenge, however, is to develop a strong international audience without undermining the success of films in the local market. And this can be achieved through co-production arrangements.
    Anastasios is currently working with Mind Blowing Films on a feature film set in India and Australia. Back-dropped against the early days of Indian talkies, it is based on the adventures of the Bollywood icon, Fearless Nadia. The other judges at the fest include names like Rajeev Masand, Nikhil Advani, Simi Garewal and Jill Billock.
    IFFM begins today. Details: iffm.com.au
    Niranjana Hariharanandanan

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