Profile of Chalachitra TVM
1. When was Chalachitra established and who were initial team and their involvement with films?
Chalachithra was inaugurated on 11th June, 1976 by the then Chief Minister of Kerala, the late Shri C Achutha Menon. Chalachithra was the brain-child of four ardent film-lovers viz. George Mathew, S B Jayaram, K N G Kaimal and M N D Nair, all working in the prestigious VIKRAM SARABHAI SPACE CENTRE.
2. How was the first 10 yrs in terms of membership numbers and funding…(membership fee etc..)
Membership fee was Rs. 25/- per year or Rs. 7 for three months. The initial membership in August, 1976 (inaugural programme was a WEEK-LONG FESTIVAL on a season ticket of Rs. 25 for 7 Indian New Wave films of Manikaul, Ray, Aravindan, Avtak Kaul, Mrinal Sen and Basu Chatterjee). By 1977 the membership grown to 1400 and that was the maximum capacity.
3. Trivandrum had too many FS and how did Suchitra establish a place for itself among the many FSs here?
Chitralekha was the pioneer film Society in Trivandrum and in Kerala and had a mambership of
around 700 plus till 1977. But they lost the focus on Film Society and turned to production of films. From 1978 Chitralekha was almost defunct, which paved the smooth way to chalachithra.
4. What was the highest membership and when and also what was the lowest membership and when? The current membership and activity levels—screenings per month, quarter, festivals etc… ( Can I get initial members, membership after a decade and membership now?)
Chalachithra reached the optimum (1450) in the second year itself, i.e. 1977 and this was maintained for a decade. It started dwindling from the second half of 80s. It reached the least
number (260) in the first half of 90s and the position started improving from the second half i.e.
from 1996 due to the introduction TRIVANDRUM INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL in 1996. chalachithra enjoys current around 90 Life Members (x 3 = 270), 30 Double members (x 2 = 60) and around 160 Single memberships totaling to around 500 single membership.
6. How are you coping with the increasing technological changes, projection, hall charges, film format etc …and also availability of films?
Chalachithra was screening either 35mm (90%) or 16mm (10%) till 2005 or so. However, 35mm films have become too expensive of late, which forced it to resort to smaller formats like CD/DVD etc. DVDs have become more viable from different Embassies which enabled the TIFF to be rich in quality, filmwise. This wais so disheartening and discouraging and there started the reverse trend which still continues.
7. Has the hay days of film societies ended, your experience and f so what hold for the future of this movement?
Certainly the hay days were over in the early 90s itself. Reasons were too many. Scarcity of autidorium and films. High expenditure on screenings with very thin audience representation.
We are now living in a totally different environment where CINEMA has become so handy where no one needs to help others. The internet does the job so beautifully. Film Society is now an OLD CONCEPT.
8. How do you see chalachitha by 2022?
I am not very confident about it is existence in 2022…….
9. Is there any one intervention which can salvage the situation for the FS in general ?
We have to learn to go with the time, giving up false nostalgic attitudes and clinging on to old habits. CINEMA survives with its own strength and not because of the support of the FILM SOCIETY MOVEMENT.
10. Has the FS in Bangalore supported and made a space for the film makers like Pattabhirama Reddy, karnad, karanth and Kasaravalli?
In Kerala, Film Societies have produced some great names like Aravindan, Padmarajan, Adoor etc and they are the all time greats.
11. Does the govnt has any role in FS and good films movement?
Very minimal. In Kerala Government is supporting very positively even through financial support. But not many genuine film Societies could survive though. Which ever Society survies, it is due to its own inherent strength.
12. Kindly sent me the President and GS of the CFS and their profiles please.
Pl. look at the TIFF 2011 Festival book for the Office bearers.