With over 200 films showing in 10 days, the 40th International Film Festival of India in Goa, which runs from November 23rd, looks like being the strongest yet. The festival has been divided up into emerging continents – Africa, South America – and also countries such as Poland, Spain, Italy, France and Croatia. In addition, there will be a Best Film Award – the Golden Peacock.
The hotly contested Indian Panorama section of the festival contains 21 ‘regional’ films and five mainstream movies. Some controversy surrounds the choice of six Bengali movies, whilst only two have been chosen from Kerala. The argument centres on procedural irregularities in the choice of the movies. “We want the selectors to strictly follow the guidelines and norms of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and the Festival Directorate,” says Unnikhrishnan of the Film Employees Federation of Kerala, “If they had done so, this sort of regional imbalance would have been avoided.”
Retrospectives at the festival will feature Kamal Hassan – now in his 50th year of film-making, gifted and beautiful Sharmila Tagore, sixties megastar Asha Parekh, and another Satyajit Ray collaborator Soumitra Chatterjee.
Two intriguing films to watch out for are Achchamundu! Achchamundu! Starring Prasanna, Sneha and American actor John Shea, this Tamil film made in the US is about an American paedophile who comes to southern India hoping to prey on young children. It’s already done well at a number of international film festivals. Meanwhile, Pasanga is a Tamil family masala movie starring Vimal and the rapidly-rising Vega Tamotia but with a serious undertone concerning the way that family dysfunction can lead to stress in children.
The Pakistan High Commission has recommended three movies for the festival – Khulay Aasman Ke Neechay, Majajan and Mohabbatan Sachian. The recommendations were made late so it’s still unclear whether the movies will be screened at this stage. The wonderful Majajan is based on the great love of sufi poet Baba Bulleh Shah for a courtesan, played by the lovely Saima.
The full list of movies in the Indian Panorama is as follows:
Aainathe (Bengali), Dulal Dey
Angshumaner Chhobi (Bengali), Atanu Ghosh
Antaheen (Bengali), Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Dwando (Bengali), Suman Ghosh
Shob Charitro Kalponik (Bengali), Rituparno Ghosh
Janala (Bengali) Buddhadeb Dasgupta
Dev D (Hindi), Anurag Kashyap
Firaaq(Hindi), Nandita Das
Kaminey (Hindi), Vishal Bharadwaj
Oye Lucky-Lucky Oye (Hindi), Dibakar Banerjee
The White Elephant (Hindi), Aijaz Khan
Beli Matthu Hola (Kannada), P.R. Ramadasa Naidu
Ijjodu (Kannada), M.S. Sathyu
Shankara Punyakoti (Kannada), G. Murthy
Ek Cup Chyay (Marathi), Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar
Gabhrjcha Paus (Marathi), Satish Manwar
Harishchandrachi Factory (Marathi), Paresh Mokashi
For Real (English), Sona Jain
Land, Gold, Women (English with some Urdu), Avantika Hari
Keshu (Malayalam), Sivan
Kutty Srank (Malayalam), Shaji Karun
Pasanga (Tamil), Pandi Raj
Achamundu Achamundu (Tamil), Arun Vaidyanathan
Paltadacho Munis (Konkani), Laxmikant Shetganokar
Haat – The Weekly Bazaar (Rajasthani), Seema Kapoor
Gaggara (Tulu), Shivadhwaj