Shanghai, China – In an extraordinary display of artistic camaraderie, celebrated Indian filmmaker and actor, Nandita Das, graced the illustrious 25th Shanghai International Film Festival in her capacity as a distinguished jury member. Renowned for her critically acclaimed masterpieces such as “Firaaq” and “Manto,” Das sat down for an exclusive interview with the esteemed China Media Group (CMG), offering profound insights into the mesmerizing city of Shanghai while expounding on the profound potential of cinema in promoting India-China collaboration and bridging cultural divides.
Das, an esteemed luminary who had never before ventured into the vibrant tapestry of Shanghai, eagerly expressed her exhilaration and elation at the prospect. Immersing herself in the city’s awe-inspiring fusion of ancient traditions and modern marvels, she eloquently drew parallels between Shanghai and her beloved Mumbai, proclaiming, “Shanghai exudes a vibrant melange of tradition and innovation, akin to the vivacious essence of Mumbai.” The Indian auteur found herself particularly captivated by Shanghai’s tantalizing gastronomy and the benevolent hospitality of its people. She effervescently shared, “The culinary wonders here are nothing short of a gastronomic odyssey, while the warmth and amiability of the locals have left an indelible imprint on my heart.”
As a distinguished member of the jury panel at the Shanghai International Film Festival, Nandita Das reveled in the camaraderie of fellow cinephiles, engaging in lively discussions that underscored the significance of profound dialogue. Expounding on the rigorous evaluation process for the competing films, Das shed light on the multifaceted aspects taken into consideration, including the film’s narrative, cinematography techniques, performances, sound design, editing, and lighting. Moreover, the esteemed Indian filmmaker passionately emphasized the pivotal role played by international film festivals in uniting diverse audiences and fostering a renaissance of cinematic boundaries. She heralded these festivals as prestigious platforms, where independent films gain the recognition they deserve while recalibrating the very essence of the cinematic realm.
Commending the prodigious contributions of Chinese cinema, which remarkably embodies the kaleidoscopic tapestry of the nation’s rich cultural heritage, Nandita Das highlighted the profound affinity between India and China. With unwavering conviction, she championed the transformative potential of cinema, its unique ability to transcend geographical boundaries and forge a profound connection with the human heart. Recognizing the monumental impact that cinema wields, she asserted, “Cinema serves as an indomitable medium, effectively binding cultures through the gentle force of soft power.” In this thought-provoking interview, Das expounded upon her steadfast belief that cultural exchanges, rather than erecting barriers, offer a profound opportunity to construct bridges between nations and foster mutual appreciation.
While sharing her aspirations for greater cooperation and understanding between the peoples of India and China, Nandita Das envisioned the power of cinema as a catalyst for the holistic development of both nations. The Shanghai International Film Festival, held from June 9th to June 18th, witnessed an astounding lineup of approximately 8,800 films hailing from 128 countries and regions. Not only is this cinematic extravaganza the largest of its
kind in Asia, but it also holds the distinction of being the oldest international cinema event in China.
As Nandita Das concluded her engaging interview, her words resonated with an unwavering sense of hope, encapsulating the transformative potential that lies within the harmonious fusion of India and China. United by the unifying force of cinema, these two nations stand poised on the cusp of an extraordinary era of shared prosperity, where mutual appreciation and profound artistic collaboration hold the key to a brighter future.
(Akhil Parashar, China Media Group, Beijing)