Small Wonderhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/small-wonder-6/

Small Wonder

The second edition of Chandigarh Cinema Festival packs in a full house

Exactly a year ago,three friends got together and decided to recharge the cultural batteries of the city. Engineer AP Mishra,advocate Harish and visual artist Sawan pooled in resources,used their networks and kick-started the first edition of Chandigarh Cinema Festival (CCF),under the aegis of their newly formed organisation,called Chandigarh Creative Cinema Circle (4C). The festival was for,by and of the indie filmmaker.

The three are back,along with a fourth cog in the wheel — advocate Arjun Sheoran — to roll out the second edition of CCF,in association with Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi. Starting today,the festival will host interactions as well as feature the works of prominent filmmakers including MK Raina,Anant Raina,Rahul Roy,Nandan Saxena,Saba Dewan,Nitin Das,Kavita Bahl,Daljit Ami,Dipanshu Dang and Gaurav Jani. As a prelude,it saw a film workshop by filmmaker Sudarshan Juyal on Friday.

Looking forward to this edition,thespian Raina and Gurpal Singh (of TV series Chhupa Rustum fame) talk about how the key to success is consistency and sustenance. “The beauty of this festival is that it has humble beginnings,and is able to sustain itself for a whole year. Everyone aims to bring big people from big cities and ignore the local regional talent. That’s not the case here,” says Raina,adding how he has also tried to shake things up in the “culturally comatose” city since 1975. “I am glad that a lot of things are happening lately,and youngsters are trying to germinate something that flowers,” adds Raina.

Singh agrees. As the mastermind behind small and impactful independent music,movies and arts movement – the Bring Your Own Film Festival (BYOFF) and Music,Artists,Filmmakers,Interesting Log Aa Jaao (MAFIA),Singh says the dialogue between an artist and the audience gets lost in big festivals. “Small spaces provide that high degree of intensity and interaction,” he says.

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Budding filmmaker Dang,whose film Nari Chakra will be screened today,listens intently while Juyal wraps up the filmmaking class. “These are the seeds to be sown. Cinema,culture and art have to be first seen as mediums of education and knowledge,and then as entertainment. They have to be introduced in schools and institutions for them to gain momentum and record growth,else we will lose all things good,” says Raina. Credited with resurrecting theatre in the Valley,Raina’s adaptation of King Lear as Badshah Lear will also be showcased as a 10-minute excerpt in the form of a film. “There is a need for new themes,ideas and productions to be at par with directors and writers and actors,and as part of it,I’ve been going deep into the landscape to make people conscious of their heritage before we lose it all,” says Raina,adding how the Kashmir Bhagat Theatre has now bagged four National Awards.

Next,Raina will be touring the country to capture give a new lease of life to the Urdu language,culture and tradition. “The Raza Library,which has rare books safely tucked away in lockers,Persian translations of the Bhagvad Gita and the Ramayana written by a Hindu in Persian in 1857,and the lotus painted by Jehangir — these are rare forms of art we are shooting and presenting as a series for Doordarshan in about two months,” he says.

Punjab,too,had its share of cultural enlightenment,in Preet Nagar in the ’30s. “It was lost in the Partition and it is time to revive it too,” says Raina.

The screenings will be held at Government Museum,Sector 10,Chandigarh