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However, little happened after that, until recently when PVR selected it as part of their Director's Rare initiative. The film, an experimental thriller about an indie filmmaker who sets out to make his movie, released on July 13 in PVR cinemas across Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai. "Filmmakers such as Anurag Kashyap tried to help find distributors. But India has no filmmaker with a clout the kind Quentin Tarantino enjoys in Hollywood who could 'present' the movie," explains Sunderrajan. "But PVR Director's Rare allows indie films a chance in the theatres and Untitled... has finally released," he adds.
The initiative, launched by PVR in January this year, has been well-received as it has since helped release several indie and documentary films that did not find distributors. These include films such as Good Night Good Morning, Kshay and Supermen of Malegaon. "PVR's prime motive is to provide path-breaking cinema. Our objective behind introducing Director's Rare is to provide indie filmmakers the platform to showcase their talent," says PVR's joint MD Sanjeev Bijli. The next six months will see the release of 13 such films.
Movies lined up for release in the coming weeks as part of Director's Rare are Aamir Bashir's Harud on July 27, National Award-winning Punjabi film Anhe Ghore Da Daan on August 10 and Delhi In A Day on August 25.
Bashir, whose Harud was refused a certification by Central Board of Film Certification since the film explores the Kashmir issue, views this as an opportunity to reach out to possible audiences even though he has had to make four audio cuts. "When the film was sent to the censor board, they refused to certify it since the issue is sensitive; it was perhaps a knee-jerk reaction on their part. The revision committee has cleared it now, but I feel the cuts are unnecessary since the film does not show anything that has not been said or heard before," argues Bashir, who believes that India may project its cinema as progressive but is not yet willing to give alternative films a chance. "Even films backed by the National Film Division Corporation (NFDC) don't get a release," he adds.
Sunderrajan seconds Bashir. In spite of the positive response to his debut, the director had to struggle to make his second film, Greater Elephant. However, he is hoping that Untitled's release may open more doors. "Director's Rare works because the future of most films these days is decided over the first week's performance and PVR is allowing us that one-week run in theatres. We need more such initiatives," he adds. He also has more hopes from Greater Elephant since the film, about a mahout who loses his elephant in the city, is "less experimental and is likely to appeal to family audiences as well".
Bashir believes that another possible solution is that NFDC should take a break from producing or backing films and instead take on the role of a distributor. He explains, "Indie filmmakers anyway find funding on our own. It is at the distribution level that we face problems. Perhaps it will help if the government steps in."
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