In an age where internet almost has taken over job of information and entertaining masses, films hold key to diverse perspectives on matters and can help deepen our understanding. Independent films are more capable to do that by their stories and narration.
Where are films in a city like Aurangabad or region like Marathwada? Or how much Marathwada is there in our films? Well, there is not much. Yet, just by taking a ringside view, one can safely assume things would no longer be same as Aurangabad gets rolling on the film scene. Aurangabad international film festival is in its sixth year and many such events and activities related to films are happening already.
Until recently, Aurangabad was nowhere on the film scene of India. A few important factors can help change that. We are seeing four of them here.
Ease of making films : Digital technology comes handy in film making. Production equipment are more reasonably priced, far less bulky than they used to be and are feature- rich. For a young storyteller shooting on camera has become less cumbersome. This helps decentralization of film making and filmmakers from regions like Marathwada will be benefited.
Aurangabad is surrounded by many historical monuments and some exotic locations. These can attract more film makers in near future. While there have been many shooting sessions in and around Aurangabad, the region still holds much that is uncaptured.
Ease of marketing films : Aurangabad is at about an hour’s flight from Mumbai – Film capital of India. Yet we haven’t seen Aurangabad or Marathwada in film making barring a few exceptions.
Marathwada region has not been a part of Mumbai’s film distribution territory. This fact had its impact. Senior film journalist Ashok Ujalambkar remembers a how it took weeks and months sometime to arrange first show of a new Marathi movie in Aurangabad. Distributors and exhibitors had to rely on
newspapers and outdoor publicity. People would know about a new movie by hand pulled carts and, later, rickshaws with decorated film posters along with announcements on loud speakers. Things started changing in 1980s when few new directors and actors started coming to the city and the region to promote their films, observes Ujalambkar. All that has changed now. Technology has changed the ways films are distributed and marketed.
Trove of stories : Marathwada has a rich culture. Yet, one hardly sees many movies draw inspiration from it. The region has rivers, hills, forests, historical places, spiritual traditions but we don’t see them much on the screen. Lives of people of the land haven’t been represented adequately in movies, not even in Marathi movies. Some Marathi movies tell stories with Marathwada in background but they are so less in number that they can be exceptions to the trend.
At a time when directors are busy telling stories from India’s diverse rural and semi-urban background, bringing out the rich trove Marathwada holds would be a challenge and an opportunity.
New generation film makers : One estimate tells us Marathwada has about over a hundred short film makers. It is possible most of them would be amateurs and may not go much beyond their first film. Yet, the number raises optimism. Many from Marathwada are already working in Mumbai’s film industry and doing media related activities there. If Aurangabad could develop a film culture, it can be safely assumed they would be more than willing to contribute.
Though there are many ifs and buts in these ideas, they do not look impossible for Aurangabad. International film festival is one big step towards it.