Santosh Sivan defends presence in Pusan film fest jury

Mumbai, July 15 (IANS) Filmmaker Santosh Sivan’s selection as a jury member at the prestigious Pusan Film Festival has raised eyebrows as his movie “Tahaan” is also in competition there, but he says the controversy is uncalled for.

“I’m on the jury for films by first-time and second-time directors. ‘Tahaan’ has been selected for the main festival that is for the market and for showcasing world cinema,” clarified Sivan. The festival begins Oct 2.

Sivan plans a big Bollywood release for “Tahaan” in October. And since it’s a film that was shot in Jammu and Kashmir, he wants to premiere it in the valley.

“Shooting this sensitive film in Kashmir was supposed to be dangerous for our unit. But our experience was something else. We shot the film in the easiest of circumstances. And, yes, I’m definitely looking forward to premiering ‘Tahaan’ in Kashmir, though the theatres there are extremely basic,” Sivan told IANS.

The film is about eight-year-old Tahaan (Purav Bhandare) who lives with his grandfather (Victor Banerjee), mother Haba (Sarika) and older sister Zoya (Sana Shaikh) in Kashmir. They all hope that someday Tahaan’s father, who has been missing for over three years, will return.

There are more honours for Sivan – he features in the July issue of the internationally celebrated magazine American Cinematographer. He is being featured in the magazine for the second time.

“The first time I was featured in American Cinematographer, it was when I directed ‘The Terrorist’. Now they’ve featured my film ‘Before The Rains’ and me in a three-page spread. Yes, it’s an honour. I suppose you’ve to be a cinematographer to know what it really means.”

— By Subhash K. Jha


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