North Bengal college and school students miss out on the film festivals
Statesman News Service
Siliguri, 7 February
For undergraduates in the colleges of north Bengal as well as Class X and XII students of schools in Siliguri affiliated to various secondary and higher secondary boards, the 4th Siliguri International Short and Documentary Film Festival 2014, which was held at a private hotel in Siliguri from 29 to 31 January and the 14th Siliguri International Film Festival 2014, which concluded f at the Dinabandhu Mancha in Siliguri today, was being organised at the wrong time.
While cinema was weighing on their minds, they had the arduous task of keeping their heads buried in their books since their examinations were round the corner.
While the part I, II and III examinations of the North Bengal University will begin on April 1, the internal semester examinations of the engineering colleges in the Siliguri sub-division as well as the Class-X and XII examinations of the Central Board of Secondary Education will start on 1 March.
The Madhyamik and Higher Secondary examinations are slated to be held from February 24 and March 12, while the candidates who will appear at the Indian School Certificate Examinations and Indian Certificate of Secondary Education Examinations are busy preparing for their examinations, which will commence on February 11 and March 3respectively.
The excitement among the film buffs in the town was almost infectious during the seven-day-long festival and these students were having a tough time keeping the festival frenzy at bay. “It was as if we were a part of the festival fever that had spread like wildfire among the film buffs all over the town and yet we were expected to stay aloof,” said Ratan Mukherjee (19), an engineering student.
Ruing that she couldn’t meet her idol, filmmaker Tanveer Mokammel of Bangladesh, who was in the town on February 1 to inaugurate the festival, Anurupa Nath, 18, a higher secondary examinee, who also acted in a few regional movies and featured in a number of ad films, said that she was “disturbed” about the festival timings.
Many undergraduate students felt that either examinations should have been postponed keeping in view the festival or the town should not have been chosen as a venue at all. They recalled an incident where the Birpara College authorities had postponed the part I and part II examinations of the college in 2005, apparently for the “smooth conduct” of a district conference of CPI-M.
Mr Pradip Nag, secretary, Siliguri Cine Society ~ one of the main organisers of the festival ~ said they could not organise the festival in November this year as the Dinabandhu Mancha was under renovation then.
“We organize the festival in November every year. This year we could not organize it till February as the mancha was being renovated,” he said.
Mr Nag refused to admit that the turnout this year was far from satisfactory because it was examination time as well. “Students appearing at the Class-X and Class-XII examinations are below 18 years. They are not mature enough to watch festival films,” he said. 
The cine society, however, selected a film made by a Class-X and Class-XI student for the second prize in the competitive section of the short and documentary film festival.