For the first time in its 50-year-old history, the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad will have a foreign guest at its convocation ceremony. The institute has invited the Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck, the Queen Mother of Bhutan. The convocation, slated to take place on December 5, will confer degrees to around 200 students from under-graduate (UG) and post-graduate (PG) courses.
“NID is now a 50-year-old institute and it is important that we associate with the neighbouring Saarc nations. We have extended an invitation to Bhutan's queen mother as part of our collaborative projects,” informed Pradyumna Vyas, NID director.
Incidentally, Bhutan, which has undergone political reforms in the last 10 years and is slowly reaping benefits of the advancements in technology, is making efforts to promote its rich heritage and art forms. It recently held Beskop Tshechu, a film festival for budding film-makers where films from Alpavirama 2011, NID's south Asian short and documentary film festival, were also screened.
Professor Arun Gupta, senior faculty and festival director was chosen as jury member for the festival.
Gupta, who has been part of such festivals before, sees a lot of potential in the film-makers there. “The Beskop Tshechu festival was organised by Dechen Roder, a film-maker and jury member of our festival and Pema Tshering, an artist. It was supported by the government and was screened in Thimpu, Bhutan's capital city.
Regarding the festival, Gupta said, “The experience was wonderful as the movies were screened in an open-air environment and the places there reminded me of our old Indian cities.”
He feels that the highlight of the festival held from October 21-23 was the content.
“Bhutan is a place which has a mix of modernity and old world charm. The young film-makers had unique and very interesting stories to tell like a kid in a mother's womb who has been ignored by his father, a kid wanting to be a rock star in a tradition-bound nation, about other evils in day to day life.”
He believes that if Bhutanese students join the institute, it will provide a different taste. “During my master class to young filmmakers and journalists, I observed that the innocence is not lost. If we have them here, we will be able to have a completely different perspective to films and story-telling. The students there can make films but need to be taught the language of films and it creates a win-win situation for both.”