The third International Festival of Independent Cinema — Off Plus Camera — to be held in Krakow, Poland, from April 16 to April 25, will have actors, Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan and directors, R Balki, Aparna Sen and Kabir Khan, as special guests from the Indian film industry.
The festival aims at supporting new filmmakers and promoting Polish and international independent cinema. The highlight of the event is the international competition which features 12 independent directors from all over the world, competing for the Krakow Film Award which carries a cash prize of $1,00,000. Selected by an international jury, the winner will be presented the award by the mayor of Krakow.
This year, the Dubai Film Festival programmer, Hannah Fisher, has come up with a special section called ‘New Indian Cinema’. Says, Janusz Bylinski, consul general of Poland, “Movies chosen by Fisher undermine the cultural stereotypes established by Bollywood films. These productions prove the extraordinary diversity of Indian cinema that is still associated in Europe with big, kitschy films.” Paa (2009), New York (2009), Well Done Abba (2010), Harischandrachi Factory (2009), Road To Sangam (2010), along films by Aparna Sen and Rituparno Ghosh will be screened in this section.
Sen, Khan, Balki and Revathy will introduce their films and talk on Indian cinema. Says Khan, “I have an interaction with local students. It’s going to be a varied and aesthetic audience, very different from what we get here in India.” The fact that Bollywood has a sizeable following in Poland came as a surprise to Khan, even though it is one of the fastest growing markets in Europe.
“Last year, when Indian director Ketan Mehta came to Krakow, he was impressed by how familiar some students were with Indian cinema. He even told a woman from the audience who kept asking really advanced questions: “I think you know more about Indian cinema than I do’,” reminisces Bylinski. The scenes of Kashmir and with the Himalayas as the backdrop depicted in the Aamir Khan - Kajol starrer Fanaa (2006), were actually shot around Poland’s Tatra mountains, about a 100 kilometres from Krakow.
AB in a Polish TV show
Bachchan will appear on a popular TV show and also visit tourist attractions in the region including the ancient salt mines at Wieliczka, the Royal Castle, and perhaps Auschwitz Birkenau, the Nazi death camp. He will also participate in a hand-printing ceremony, which is the Krakow version of Hollywood Boulevard, situated on the banks of the river Vistula.
Neil Jordan, Colin Farrell and Jane Campion are some the Hollywood stars, who will also be a part of the ceremony this year.