Amidst hype, hoopla and applause, the screening of Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar’s latest runaway hit Rock On!! marked the opening of the 2nd ‘Indian Visions’ film festival in Washington DC, this week.
The film’s director Abhishek Kapoor, who made sure he attended the event, was also presented with the official ‘Opening Night Selection Award’. “There was an overwhelming response to Rock On!! from Indians and Americans alike, and I was flattered to witness such frenzy” he quipped after the event. “Abhishek’s keen participation brought a lot of cheer to the audience,” remarked the festival’s director Sukumar Srinivasan. “His presence added a zestful feel to the festival,” said the festival programme coordinator Amanda Sodhi.
A lot of independent and international cinema got a chance to be showcased at the festival. Celebrity guests included Brahmanand Singh (of Pancham Unmixed fame), Spandan Banerjee (The Fiction and Beware Dogs), Ashish Avikunthak (Nirakar Chhaya — Shadows Formless and Antaral — End Note), Mona Kumar (Between Two Worlds), Leena Jayaswal and Indira Somani (Crossing Lines) and Harjant Gill (Milind Soman Made Me Gay), whose independent films were screened and applauded.
Other movies which garnered appreciation included Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Naalu Pennungal, Aamir Khan’s Taare Zameen Par, Franz Osten’s Prapancha Pash, Umesh Kulkarni’s Valu — The Wild Bull, Mira Nair, Vishal Bharadwaj, Farhan Akhtar and Santosh Sivan’s AIDS JaaGo, Neeraj Pandey’s A Wednesday, Nishikant Kamat’s Mumbai Meri Jaan, Liz Mermin’s Shot In Bombay, Preeya Nair’s Quamar — Working to Live, Christopher Mitchell’s Super 30, Ramesh Mourthy and Raghu Jeganathan’s Wings of Evolution, Atul Sabharwal’s Midnight Lost and Found, Atul Taishete’s Rewind, Dhiraj Meshram’s Haravele Indradhanush — The Lost Rainbow and Sidharth Singh’s The Private Life of Albert Pinto.
Brahmanand Singh won the ’2008 Indian Visions Audience Award’ for his documentary film Pancham Unmixed. All in all, it turned out to be a memorable event which Washington DC will remember for long.