The 9th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will celebrate the centenary of Indian cinema by showcasing what is being described as “a unique line-up of the country’s talent”. The package “will bring fans close to some of the latest cutting-edge movies with some of the finest stars and directors”.
Nashen Moodley, Festival’s Director of Asia Africa Programmes, said: “To commemorate 100 years of Indian cinema, we have selected a collection of unique films that reflects the richness, flavour and essence of the nation’s movie-making. Over 1,000 films are made every year in India and the platter is huge and diverse which is a testament to the movie-making excellence we see year after year.”
And here is what is in store. One of India’s best regarded helmers, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, will pay homage to the celebrated cultural icon, poet-dramatist-essayist Rabindranath Tagore, on his 150 birth anniversary by presenting 13 short films on 13 of the bard’s poems.
The first quartet of the 13 is: The Flutist, The Pond, The Dark Maiden and The Station. Dasgupta – who is himself a renowned poet -- chose to turn these poems of Tagore into celluloid poetry for two essential reasons. One, they fetched the poet his Nobel Prize. Two, the verses take the reader “along a secret second world”.
Apart from Dasgupta’s movies, Hansal Mehta’s Shahid will play at Dubai. Acclaimed at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, Shahid is inspired by the actual story of the slain human rights lawyer, Shahid Azmi, “an ordinary citizen with an extraordinary commitment to justice”. Mehta calls his work as “a small movie with a big heart.”
Actor-turned-director Joy Mathew’s debut feature, Shutter, is a Malayalam satire that will have its world premiere at Dubai. Shutter follows the lives of three men, a film director, an expat from the Gulf and an autorickshaw driver.
Another world premiere will be Bengali actor-director Kaushik Ganguly’s Shobdo (Sound) about a Tollywood artist, whose life gets inextricably intertwined with the sounds he has been producing for years.
Also in the Indian basket will be Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely, Rajan Khosa’s Gattu, Sourav Sarangi’s Char…The No-Man’s Island, Anand Gandhi’s Ship Of Thesus and Nishtha Jain’s Gulabi Gang among others.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran will be covering the Dubai International Film Festival)