It was a chaotic day 3 at the International Film Festival at Kala Academy. Things went out of hand with the men in khaki trying to control disappointed delegates for mismanagement of the queue which led to non-ticket holders given entry over those who had tickets. While vice chairman, ESG Rajendra Talak rushed in to bring the situation under control, he attracted more controversy
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Delegates with tickets began queuing up at Kala Academy almost an hour prior to the 12.15 show of the Danish movie ‘The Guilty’; those who didn’t have tickets also came in quite early and formed the rush line. While a few ticket-holders made it to the auditorium after the security check, the people in the rush line managed to push through, and were surprisingly allowed entry, thus creating confusion, and leaving hundreds ticket-holders stranded.
It is learnt that the organisers at Kala Academy have been delaying entry of the delegates in the auditorium and with a capacity of 950-odd seats, there is no way all the delegates can get in, within short time. While ticket-holders need to occupy the seats 10 minutes prior to the film, they complained that the delay in entry coupled with the time consumed for security checks resulted in the chaos. Given that the system itself is faulty and the entry starts late, there was a disaster waiting to happen.
To make matters worse, there were more than 150 empty seats in the auditorium when the film was going on but thanks to the inept entry system, delegates even after booking tickets and standing in the queue couldn’t get in.
Upon learning of the chaos, vice chairman of Entertainment Society of Goa, Rajendra Talak arrived. Instead of calming the situation by admitting the mistake, he pushed the blame back on the delegates telling them that they had come late. The ticket holders screamed back correcting him that they were present for over an hour and that it was inefficiency and mismanagement on the part of the organisers.
While Talak was in no mood to listen, a few delegates weren’t ready to buy his talk and agreed to a re-screening of the movie. They also prevented Talak from leaving, further asking him to resign from his position. He then retorted to Kamal KM, a filmmaker whose film ‘ID’ was part of Indian Panorama for IFFI in 2012: “I know you are from Kerala, you should go back home!”
This led to more unrest, as not just delegates from Kerala but others also demanded an apology for a regionalist statement. The slogan shouting was so loud that even those inside the theatre could hear the noises while the film was being screened.
“How can he tell me or any delegate to go back home. We were asking for what we should rightfully get as delegates. We were in the line for an hour. He is lying about the facts to the police and others,” said Kamal who later filed a written complaint with ESG.
NT BUZZ also met two women from Kerala who also accused Talak of asking them to go back home. Sudha Padmaja Francis, whose film ‘I Test’, won the National Award for Best Cinematography in 2017 and her friend Reshma Radakrishnan were appalled by his statement. “How can he make such a parochial statement that is against federalism? He should be removed from his position. It is not just about Kerala or a single state. It is a bigger issue and is not constitutional,” Francis pointed out.
Later, as a consolation, it was announced that the film will be screened again though the schedule has not been announced.