New Delhi, Dec 29 : Filmmaker Ridham Janve, who has been awarded the prestigious APSA MPA Film Fund for his forthcoming movie 'Ashwamedh' is certain that it is not going to be a conventional costume-jewellery fest in the name of a period film but will depict the period in a truer sense of those times with all its challenges. "The concept of an Ashwamedh Yagya has always fascinated me. The image of a horse running in the wilderness and marking new boundaries for its country says a lot to me and I find it fascinating how this symbolic image/concept has become even more relevant in the world today," he tells IANS.
Janve, who garnered much critical acclaim with his last film 'The Gold-Laden Sheep and The Sacred Mountains' which won the Silver and India Gold Award for the best feature film at MAMI and had its international premiere at the International Film Festival, Rotterdam, smiles that the news of receiving the APSA MPA Film Fund was definitely a pleasant surprise. "Frankly, I could not believe that the jury chose my project over so many deserving projects sent by some of the best filmmakers in the region. Yes, I am grateful for this recognition. Such moments give a much needed affirmation that you are on the right path and that people are liking your ideas." The filmmaker, for whom everyday life didn't change much owing to the lockdown which witnessed the film and television industry coming to a standstill says that he was able to continue the projects he was working on, writing, researching, developing stories, and some commercial projects on the side.
Adding that the multiple awards and recognition that 'The Gold-Laden Sheep and The Sacred Mountains' won internationally opened many doors for him and others who worked on the film, this grant being one of them, Janve smiles, "Such acclaims help bring credibility to new filmmakers like me who have unconventional ideas for an industry which is more used to bet on safer horses." At a time when digital platforms, which a year back were a boon for indie filmmakers are fast turning mainstream, Janve feels that most OTTs are in fact designed for the masses, to cater to a wider audience, hosting a wide variety of content. "So frankly, it's not surprising to see more mainstream films premiering on OTT platforms. The lockdown just became a good reason for the inevitable to happen. But the good news is that the world is still looking for newer and fresher content. Be it a mainstream or an independent film, or not even a film -- if it resonates with the audience, there is a platform for it." Considering the fact that most major film festivals were cancelled this year and shifted online, Janve admits that though it must have been a tough period for the filmmakers who already had a film lined-up for festival runs, but looking at the bright side, movie makers had the option of having online versions of film festivals, which would have been impossible had the pandemic occurred ten years ago. "Also, festival organisers have very well adapted to the times. Those who watch films at these festivals are doing it at home. It may not be the same experience, but at least you get to watch the films. And aren't we all getting used to watching films on TVs and computer screens anyway?" Remembering his years at the National Institute of Design (NID) where he was introduced to the world of cinema and started his first experiments with the film medium, he says, "I was lucky to learn about the various aspects of art and design, graphics, product, exhibition, etc. and most importantly, design thinking, which comes very handy in my filmmaking practice. Unlike film schools, it didn't have a definitive approach to movie making which gave me a lot of freedom to identify and develop my own voice." (Sukant Deepak can be contacted at email@example.com)