When I had the chance to visit the 8th Season of the India Film Project this year, I took it up with no hesitation. Films, after all, have been my connection to the world, there could only be knowledge gained from festivals like these.

I first noticed how well organised the festival really was, with spaces for people to go around and meet new people or to choose any event they wanted to walk in and sit for according to their convenience. I appreciate IFP for such a setting.

My first event was one of the most exciting events for the day, it was a panel that consisted of Mithila Palkar, Dhruv Sehgal and the writers of Little Things. They discussed the backend efforts put into the show and the ‘Little Things” we failed to notice while watching the show. It was a very informative peek inside the show and as a fan of it, honestly, it was one of the best decisions I had taken to go attend it.

My second event was The Big Question, whether blockbusters in Bollywood are sensitive towards issues that may seem offensive in this day. It was an eye-opening discussion that questioned a few demoralising aspects that Bollywood follows till some insensitive aspects that the audience reciprocates to. It’s a challenge these days to cover such topics in their full justice and make sure everyone is content.

My third event happened to be one that was taken up by Sucharita Tyagi, a film reviewer herself, who taught the attendees how to review a film with respect to a video streaming platform like YouTube. She gave an insightful look upon how the field of reviewing works and how you should be able to sell it to your viewers so as to gain their trust and not stray away from your actual goal as well. She answered my question to what the future of reviewing looked like, to which she had to say that as long as films are around, film reviewing is going nowhere.

My fourth event was one about stories and what makes them perfect. The fact that storytelling in this country and for this country has still not opened up the minds of readers is a sad truth. Novoneel Chakraborty talked about how India was the country to introduce KamaSutra as literature to the world and now our own readers consider anything intimate as “erotic”. It is a downgrade occurring through the years honestly speaking.

My fifth event was another one of the ones that I was excited about, it was a talk with Ali Fazal and his life in Hollywood as compared to Bollywood. He spoke a lot about the contrasts between the two industries and how beautiful they are in their own ways. To one of the audience questions, he also claimed that he’d never leave Bollywood and settle for Hollywood for the rest of his life as this is what he calls home and this is where he can connect to his own people.

Lastly, the event that was much awaited upon, Behind the Screen of Badhaai Ho. The panel included Ayushmann Khurrana himself and the directors and writers of the film. They explained how and why they came about this film. The concept was meant for an ad film at first but was then converted into a feature film and the trailer up until now has been extremely well received. They talked about the awkwardness and the heaviness in the air that go about when such a concept comes into mind and how they’re focusing on normalising sex for all ages through such a film.

My overall experience at IFP8 was just wonderful with great insights and anecdotes shared by amazing people in the industry. I would definitely hope to go again and would love to see newer faces connecting to such an intrigued audience more often.


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