Village Rockstars, this year’s National Award winner for the Best Film, has travelled to international festivals, but it hasn’t released in India yet. Here’s what the director had to say
Rachana Dubey (BOMBAY TIMES; August 9, 2018)

Even as she is gearing up to start work on her fourth film, director Rima Das has not been able to find a producer for the release of Village Rockstars, this year’s National Award winner in the Best Film category. By the time the film bagged the National Award, it had already travelled to 60 national and international film festivals, enjoying full-house screenings. So, what is it that stops Village Rockstars from making it to our cinema halls?

Rima says, “As an independent director-producer, I will release the movie in Assam and a few other cities. Big producers and studios don’t want to take any risk on content. They all talk about markets and the audience’s taste, but what they fail to understand is that markets need to be developed. I have been to many international festivals where children have watched my film and interviewed me for it. These countries work on developing the taste of their audience early on. As adults, these children will have a very different sensibility in cinema. That is what we need to do in India. Simply talking about the market not changing does not help. We need brave producers to back a film like Village Rockstars.”

As she is gearing up to start her fourth project, Rima hopes to get better resources and equipment. Though she is struggling to find support for her National Award-winning film, she admits that she has no regrets. “With the position I am in, I don’t have to bother about getting a producer. Yes, I will try and get more equipment for making my fourth film. Since I have been financing my films so far, I could create my journey the way I wanted to. I want to continue with what I am doing. That is liberation in the true sense,” she explains.

Has the National Award given her more opportunities? “I made Village Rockstars because of my passion for cinema; I wasn’t thinking about the market or the audience. The National Award has opened more doors for me, but I feel sad that a large part of the audience in India has still not seen the film, though it has been appreciated all over the world,” she replies.

Rima, who is based in Mumbai and grew up on Bollywood fare like Pakeezah and Mughal-E-Azam, reveals that she has never been to a film school, nor hasshe assisted a top filmmaker. “I have constantly been educating myself about the craft. When my work gets appreciated, it fills me with confidence to make the next film. I think, as a writer-director, self-belief is very important. For that, even if one has to start on a really small scale, the journey is worth it,” she signs off.