National award winning film ‘Naanu Avanalla…Avalu’ (I am not a he…but she) directed by B S Lingadevaru, based on the autobiography of a transgender, shows the confusion between having a male body but feminine tendencies and characteristics. It also brings to light the challenging life of the Indian transgender community. The film director who has made three feature films till date, all of which were screened at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), speaks to NT BUZZ about his films and the why he feels the Central Government should reconsider hosting IFFI in Goa
Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ
B S Lingadevaru’s Kannada feature film ‘Naanu Avanalla…Avalu’ was screened in the Panorama section of the 46th IFFI. Based on the autobiography of a transgender theatre artiste ‘Living Smile Vidya, I am Vidya, A Transgender’s Journey’, the film tells the story of the life of Sanchari Vijay from Kamlapura, who cherishes the idea of being a woman.
The film director says he was inspired by an incident in Bangalore where a boy was forced to undergo gender transformation. He later stumbled upon the biography. He was convinced about the concept in 2009 and the idea slowly developed from thereon into a script that was eventually written and re-written over forty times.
“Indeed it was difficult as the community was not willing to speak much. But after the film was made and screened for them, they themselves have been promoting the film,” says the director whose film is still running in Bangalore and other parts of Karnataka.
Besides using traditional outlets like multiplexes, he has also sought other options like screening the film in schools, open screenings, etc, so that the film reaches a wider audience. This also helps recover cost of making the film.
“At a time when promotion costs are more than film making, we have to look at alternatives,” says the director, who has visited the festival twice before with his films that were screened in the Indian Panorama section.
Unfortunately, B S Lingadevaru isn’t too happy with the way IFFI is being organised. He openly spoke about his disappointment regarding various aspects starting by taking a dig at what Goa is generally known for – hospitality.
“I am not happy with the hospitality provided. I have been put up in a type of hotel that even while on personal visits to the state I have not stayed in. Visit it,” the film director says, adding that the only reason for coming to IFFI is to showcase his work.
“When we don’t look for anything commercial, good hospitality is the least we can ask for,” says Lingadavaru, who mentioned that there are no foreign or well-known people from the film industry, which indicates that there is partial treatment being meted to filmmakers and other delegates representing regional cinema.
He is of the opinion that someone has to take responsibility for the haphazard arrangements whether the Central Government, State Government or the Directorate of Film Festivals. “I was told by DFF that hospitality is the responsibility of the Goa Government,” says the film director.
He also pointed out that DFF should focus more on ensuring that the film schedule is made properly. Combining a non-feature film and a feature film which has a total running time of close to three hours is not going to be appreciated by the audience, he feels.
Also the fact that the film industry and various film chambers from South India like FFI, South Indian Film Chamber and others have boycotted the festival indicates that there is a problem in the manner in which the film festival is conducted in Goa. Highlighting the fact that many delegates were not given the kits on time as film viewers need brochures of the film selected, he sincerely believes that Goa does not deserve to host IFFI. There are several other cities and states which can do a much better job and have multiplexes and the infrastructure, he opines adding that before Goa was declared a permanent venue for the festival, it was managed and organised very well. “IFFI sadly promoted Goa and not India,” he maintains.
Drawing similarity to a marriage which is taken for granted after a few years he says: “Ever since Goa has been made a permanent venue the festival is being neglected totally on various fronts including basic facilities.”