Documentary films facing hard days in SAARC nations

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Mumbai, Feb 7 (UNI) Despite the potential of documentaries and short films to portray real life situations and socially-relevant themes, their true worth has not been acknowledged.

While financers and distributors prefer to maintain their distance from short films and documentaries, the media too chooses to turn a Nelson's eye on this section.

This was the common rue of film makers from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal whose films are being screened in a special package for SAARC countries in the 10th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) here.

Film makers Fauzia Khan from Bangladesh, Ehetashanuddin from Pakistan and Upasana Shreshta from Nepal, told reporters here today that they were finding it difficult to screen documentaries in their respective countries.

They suggested that the SAARC countries should collectively take steps to improve the situation. Ehetashanuddin advocated the there should be a dedicated television channel to showcase such films.

Fauzia Khan, a diploma holder in film making from FTII, Pune, said she had to face several problems while making the film ''I had something to say''. Her film deals with the subject of early marriage and the associated problems.

As many as 23 films from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are being screened at the ongoing MIFF.

The Bangladesh package consists of eight films on various issues. Among these films are ''Song of Freedom'' on the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, ''Black House'' on child labour, ''Our Boys'' on the western influence on the younger generation, ''The Raiders of Sundarban'', ''The Migrant Soul'', ''Khumi Lives'' on the Khumi tribal community, and ''Sand and Water'' on the struggle for water by an island community in Bangladesh.

Ehetashanuddin has brought six films for special screening, out of which three are by women directors. ''Shahrukh Khan Ki Maut'' tells the story of a boy who is a die-hard fan of Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan. ''Yeh Hindustan Woh Pakistan'' is inspired by film maker Ramanand Sagar. Among the other films are ''Aaj Bazaar Mein'' on Lahore's red light area and ''Sea Turtles'' on the green turtles that nest on the beaches of Pakistan.

The package from Nepal consists of four films -- ''A Life With Slate'', ''Hami Kunako Maanche'', ''Om Bikram'' and ''Chaama Deu: Tara Nabirsa''.

There are five films from Sri Lanka: ''My favourite'' on the problems faced by a child due to poverty, ''Awaiting A Train'' on a child living in an area ravaged by war, ''Trickling Down'' on labour exploitation, ''In Search Of A Road'' and ''Unshined''.

UNI DB MAZ SY GC1713

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