Starting this year, the Singapore Consul has decided to showcase selected Singaporean films internationally.This brings the Singapore Film Festival to Mumbai where works of acclaimed Singaporean filmmakers will be screened at NCPA’S Little Theatre from December 10 to 12. The selected films range from Singapore GaGa, a documentary, 881, a musical to Red Dragonflies, a mystery and Sandcastle, a drama.
The festival has been organised by the Singapore Consul in collaboration with the Singaporean Consul in Mumbai. Lin Chung Ying, Consul-General Singapore says, “We are very happy to screen our films in Mumbai. The films talk about Singapore as a nation and also showcase its diverse culture.”
Royston Tan, the director of 881, says he was influenced by Indian cinema and wanted to make a film on the Getai — an energetic live-stage performance held during the Ghost Festival, a traditional Chinese festival that is celebrated on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month. “It is similar to the Indian musicals that celebrate singing and dancing.
Bollywood songs and dance have partly been my inspiration for the film,” says Tan, whose 105-minute film tells the story of two childhood friends who grow up mesmerised by the glitz and glamour of Getai and dream of performing on the Getai stage one day. After being blessed by the Goddess of Getai, they fulfil their dreams and become the Papayas, the most sought-after pair of Getai singers ever. Their rivals, the Durian Sisters, become intensely jealous of the Papayas’ success, and are determined, with the help of their gangster godfather, to unsettle them by messing up their schedule.
An excited Tan says, “I’m extremely privileged to be part of this unique festival. India has a rich history of cinema, and it’s my honour to introduce Singaporean cinema to India. Though I don’t really remember the names of any films at the moment, the song and dance genre in Indian cinema has always enamoured me. This is my second visit to India. Indians and Singaporeans share the same culture and value all types of art. Singapore produces a limited amount of movies every year, to showcase our movies, in India, a country that produces the maximum amount of films, is very inspiring.”
Directed by Tan Pin Pin, the 55-minute documentary tells a bittersweet biography of Singapore’s everyday sights and sounds that often go unnoticed among the urban noise. So how many people are they expecting in Mumbai? “Four films will be shown during six screenings over three days and we aim to screen the films to a full house,” says Ying. He adds, “The focus is on groundbreaking Asian cinema. The festival aims to showcase and develop the vibrant film culture of Singapore and also discuss the various aspects of filmmaking in Asia, which is character-oriented. The dominant themes remain drama and musicals which, I am very sure, will be a treat to Indian audiences.”