This one’s the fourth time I’m attending Bengaluru International Film Festival. What initially started as a post-breakup medicine has now turned out to be an annual affair that I attend religiously. Like people visiting Tirupati once a year.

It’s been a fabulous journey. Every year I learn something new, I gain a lot of knowledge about and insights into the various cultures that exist around us. I’ve learnt a lot about life, human relationships, politics and societies. Good and great films have taught me to criticize movies well and bad movies have taught me to appreciate movies well.

Biffes doesn’t attract the big names of Kannada film industry, leave alone the Bollywood stars. But there are a host of celebrities who are there because they’ve earned their place through hard work and dedication, unlike the stars who were born with a silver spoon. The absence of these nights also ensures there’s less chaos during the festival.

And that’s quite important in Biffes – ensuring there’s less chaos. Because the number of people attending has only increased every year while the volunteers and the organizing committee haven’t kept up with the numbers.

Technical glitches continue to mar the event and crowd mismanagement has always made me wish I was incharge of managing the crowd. I also feel amused when I see that the organizing committee fails to print the souvenirs well in advance every year. The lack of planning and bureaucratic approach of hosting the event are always present in the ambient air.Sometimes, I do wonder why the government had to interfere in these things and why Suchitra Film Society is not involved anymore. 

But the involvement of the government has been quite useful too. The budgets have grown, the quality of the souvenirs have improved, the number of movies screened have grown steadily. And the best part is the venue. Gone are those days where you had to run from Fun Cinemas on Cunningham Road to Fame Lido in Ulsoor to catch your movies. While that setup had its advantages in the form of allowing more theaters located in different localities to be a part of the festival thereby providing easier accesses to the venues for different sets of people, it surely wasn’t comfortable for us to run from one location to another just to watch a movie of our choice. The centralized screening in Orion Mall has ensured we don’t have to commute. Also, Orion Mall’s PVR has one of the largest number of seats among the multiplex es in the country. It has the capability to cater to the bulging numbers that are attending the festival every year. The government has been hosting the opening ceremony in the premises of the iconic Vidhana Soudha. What better way than this to brand a festival’s opening with an icon.

Another contribution of the government has been the simultaneous screening of movies in Mysore. The cultural capital also gets to enjoy Biffes at the comfort of home apart from getting to host the closing ceremony in front of Mysore Palace. It does feel weird though.. that Bengaluru International Film Festival is also held in and concludes in Mysore. Weird, really weird.

For the first time, I’ve booked the whole week for the festival. 3-5 films a day. The festival always gives me chance to get lost in a world that isn’t fake but isn’t real either. All this, for just ₹600!!! No kidding!