Friday, October 17, 2014

MAMI Diaries: Day 2


A day of classics and contemporaries

clip_image002On the second day of the 16th Mumbai Film Festival, the audiences revisited some of the classics in world cinema and at the same time, got a taste of the latest fare from across the globe. As a toast to the French actress, Catherine Denevue, the festival screened her 1966 classic rom-com A Matter of Resistance and later in the evening, her most recent Dans La Cour (In The Courtyard), both drawing maximum crowds.

Celebrating Arab Cinema was Saleh Abu Seif’s 1960 black and white social drama The Beginning & The End, while Frank Capra’s 1934 classic It Happened One Night opened the Restored Classics section at the fest and Grigoriy Chukhray’s Ballad of a Soldier, the 1959 black and white Russian classic marked the Celebration of 90 Years of MOSFILM Studio. Closer home, Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen, too, received the fest’s salute as Dibakar Banerjee and Tigmanshu Dhulia, who worked as the casting director for the film, presented this cult classic.


Dibakar Banerjee and Tigmanshu Dhulia

Meanwhile, the contemporary fare included Reese Witherspoon starrer The Good Lie, a story of hope, honour and humanity, about Sudanese refugees (representing the ‘lost boys’ of Sudan) who win a lottery to come to the USA and settle for a better life. Witherspoon’s restrained performance along with a smooth narrative laced with humour capturing the culture shock faced by the refugees, made this film worth a watch. The debut works showcased on the second day included Safi Yazdanian’s Iranian film What’s The Time In Your World? and Sofia Norlin’s Broken Hill Blues, a teen-centric drama offering a peek into modern day Swedish Cinema.

- Krutika Behrawala
(Contributing Writer for FIW)

HoneyComb Lodge

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The appeal of Amma & Appa


ammaappa905024A heart-warming cross-cultural love story between a German girl and a South Indian boy, Amma & Appa, one of the four films in the Film India Worldwide sections at the 16th Mumbai Film Festival, was well-received by the patrons. Made by the husband-wife director duo Franziska Schönenberger and Jayakrishnan Subramanian, the documentary, that witnessed its Asian premiere here, chronicles the couple’s relationship, showcasing an insight into both the cultures through the eyes of the parents of the to-be brides and grooms.

German-born Franziska, who has worked in Mumbai as a journalist and studies documentary filmmaking at a film school in Munich, said, “Filmmaking brought us together. During my second year of filmmaking, I wanted to make a film on Indian artists in alternative music scene. I searched and found Jay. I emailed him and we met at a mall in Mumbai.”

Jay added, “Like most Indians, I also studied mechanical engineering and then went to pursue Fine Arts. I met Franziska in Mumbai and went to Germany and made this film to convince our parents.”

Already well-received in the European film circuit, Amma & Appa is brought alive by the conversations that the parents have with their children and with each other. Said Franziska, “My father-in-law feels like a small Rajinikanth, because he was present in Germany when the film was screened and now, he is recognised on the streets.”

- Krutika Behrawala (Contributing Writer for FIW)

MAMI Ceremony

Monday, October 13, 2014

NFDC Film Bazaar announces the 32 finalists of the Co-Production Market 2014


~ Three and a Half, to be produced by Mira Nair and directed by Sooni Taraporewala, Amitav Kaul’s, Interpreter Of Maladies, based on Pulitzer prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story and a film by highly acclaimed director from Pakistan, Sabiha Sumar (of Khamosh Pani fame) are among the finalists~

Mumbai, October 13, 2014:  National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) announces the 32 finalists of the Co-Production Market to be held during Film Bazaar in Goa from November 20-24, 2014.

The 32 finalists in the Co-production Market, hoping to attract funding and distribution from potential co-producers, distributors and sales agents from across the globe, include 18 projects from India and 14 from overseas.

Among the 18 Indian finalists, six are from the Screenwriters Lab 2014:

· By/Two – Directed by Devashish Makheja and produced by Dutta Dave

· The School Directed by Suchita Bhhatia and produced by Vivek Kajaria

· Blossoms (Pallavi)- Directed and produced by Nila Madhab Panda

· Nuclear Hearts - Directed by Bornila Chatterjee and produced by Tanaji Dasgupta

· Seven (Saat)- Directed by Ashish Bende and produced by Suhrud Godbole

· Medium Spicy - Directed by Mohit Takalkar and produced by Nikhil Mahajan

· The Invisible One - Directed by Amit Datta and produced by Anjali Panjabi

· Ashwathama - Directed by Puspendra Singh. and produced by Sanjay Gulati

· Rainbow - Directed by Shona Urvashi and produced by Raman Lamba

· Overcoat - Directed by Abhijeet Singh Parmar and produced by Rishebh Batnagar

· Mantra- Directed by Nicholas Kharkongor and produced by Rajat Kapoor

· The Indian Prisoner - Directed and produced by Shashwati Talukdar

· The Boyfriend – Vidur Nauriyal and Ashim Ahluwalia

· Winter- Aamir Bashir 

· Char Log Kya Kahenge – Hitesh Bhatia

· Flow – Vandana Kohli

· All about Her – Ruchi Joshi

· The Sunset Club – Karan Tejpal

The 14 international projects to be showcased in the eighth edition of the Film Bazaar Co-Production Market include two films from the US, two from Sri Lanka,  a film from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Norway, France, Germany, Singapore and United Kingdom and an IFP project which is selected through NFDC collaboration with Independent Filmmaker Project, USA.

  • Three and a Half- Produced by Mira Nair and directed by Sooni Taraporewala (USA)
  • Interpreter of Maladies – Produced and directed by Amitav Kaul (USA)
  • Minefield- Directed by Shiladitya Bora, the PVR Rare head and produced by the award winning Sri Lankan filmmaker Prasanna Vithanage (Sri Lanka)
  • Womb – Directed by Nishantha Shanthadeva and produced and Rasitha Jinasenaby (Sri Lanka)
  • The Judgement- directed by Sabiha Sumar and produced by Sachithanandam Sathananthan (Pakistan)
  • Summer with Azita- directed by Fazila Amiri and produced by Paul Lee (Afghanistan)
  • Abomination- directed by Karan Shrestha and produced by Kshitiz Adhiraj (Nepal)
  • No Land’s Man -directed and produced by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki (Bangladesh)
  • Gilded Cage -directed and produced by Vijay Chandran (Singapore)
  • What Will People Say (Hva Vil Folk Si)- directed by Iram Haq’s and produced by  Maria Ekerhovd (Norway)
  • Goa directed by Jamie Mateus-Tique and produced by Luc Bossi (France)
  • Once Again- directed by Kanwal Sethi and produced by Holm Taddiken (Germany)
  • End Game directed by Geetha J and produced by Ian McDonald (United Kingdom)
  • Colony - Pulkit Datta (IFP Project)

The NFDC spokesperson says, “We are excited to have such diverse and interesting projects with a focus on South Asian stories in the Co-Production Market.  We also have a project from a country like Norway, which is participating for the first time.”

About Film Bazaar Co-Production Market:

Film Bazaar Co-Production Market is the first programme of its kind in South Asia to provide a platform for filmmakers with South Asian stories to make the right connections to get their projects financed.

Every year Film Bazaar’s Co-Production Market invites a select number of directors/producers to present their projects to co-producers, funders, distributors, sales agents and other financial partners from across the world.

FB Co-Production Market 2013 showcased 28 South Asian projects from across the globe including an Independent Filmmaker Project from USA.

For further information on NFDC Film Bazaar please log on to

Films That Debate Moralilty

Winter Sleep

Winter Sleep                                                                                                                         

Past halfway mark, and the Busan film festival’s deluge of films from corners of the world have had their usual effect – an astonishingly high number of young teenage Koreans upto 30 years of age thronging the theatres, and film buffs from everywhere bowing, waist down Korean style, in appreciation.

Busan is the last of the huge major festivals in the year. Its selection of its 312 films features the most talked-about festival titles that 2014 has so far showcased. Among them are Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s take on Checkov’s selected stories, the enticing four-hour Cannes winner, Winter Sleep, dialogue driven as it conveys genteel lives caught within closed walls -- and so riveting.

Then there is the film from France-Maurituana, Abderahmaine Sissako’s picturesque and poetic Timbuktu, set in a distant desert in Mali, where its simple people are subjected to mindless fanaticism; from Belgium, the Dardenne brothers’ Two Days, One Night on a worker’s conscience battling her employer’s manipulations to oust her; from Canada, the surprise hit of the year, Mommy, by Xavier Dolan, on a feisty widow’s strained and strenuous attempts to cope with her disturbed son as he drifts from hospital to her home.

At Busan, looking at the more human interest stories in cross sections of the programme, the thought comes across that the public concept of morality and good conduct are of concern in our times. A deeper understanding suggests that the driving social forces of today trigger people to become victims, forcing them into crass and manic behavior, almost to a point of self-destruct.

The only one competition section in the panoramic spread of this festival is its New Currents screening first or second-time directors. This year this section has 12 films from 10 countries. One is Sunrise by Partho Sen-Gupta in the Marathi language (it will feature in the upcoming Mumbai International Film Festival very shortly). The film has already evoked high praise from quarters as prized as both The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. Sunrise, a tense, brooding psychological drama set in Mumbai’s murky areas, follows a grieving policeman doggedly searches for his missing daughter. The film’s balancing of fact with fantasy gives it an eerie, lurid hue. Lead actor Adil Hussein’s angst-driven performance in the lead role adds immeasurably to the film’s impact.

In the same section is Bangladesh’s Jalal’s Story by Abu Shahed Emon, who has studied filmmaking in Dhaka, Australia and Korea. The film has three tales that connect surrealistically to one another – each one set around a child set adrift in swirling waters with the intention to kill. There is no ambivalence here on moral issues. The film clearly indicts a society controlled by boorish men, caste hierarchy, exploitative superstition and criminalised politics.

From Korea, Kim Dong-myung’s The Liar takes magnetic control of its out-of-gear subject on a young girl who is abandoned by a mother she craves for. She escapes her sordid and desperate conditions at home shared with an alcoholic fat sister and a wayward young bother, by slipping seamlessly into a world of fantasy and lies. She pretends she is buying a high-grade apartment or a costly refrigerator, saying blandly last minute that she has left her wallet at home and will send her down payment. In the Botox beauty parlour where she works, she lies again about a high-flying boyfriend who in fact is an employee of a car company, who really likes the girl. However, her twisted mind finally gives way. She deliberately destroys all that she has going for her.  Consumerism is the killer here.

From the UK, Morgan Matthews’ X+Y looks with compassion at a little boy who is a total misfit in every aspect of life. All he cares for are patterns, numbers and mathematics (at which he excels). He connects with his father who indulges him at every turn telling him he is gifted far more than others and so is unique – a goal that the boy grows up using as justification for his isolation and total disregard of others.  It is only by leaving home for Taiwan to compete in the revered Mathematics Olympics as a member of the British team, and aided by his mother’s long-suffering support and that of his ailing, anarchic tutor, is he finally able to reach out to others. Significantly, he chooses to drop out of the competition at the last minute.

From France, there is the seductively spectacular portrait of the French fashion legend, Saint Laurent directed by Bertrand Bonello. The film captures the heady, drug-driven, smoke-filled times of the 60s and 70s and also captures the quirky, thin but compelling creative drive of  Yves Saint Laurent in all its excessiveness and even silliness. The tormented man and his times come through vividly. 

Courtesy: - India's first independent on-line daily which was launched on January 27, 2014.reproducing Uma da Cunha's column