The Film Bazaar, whose eighth edition will unroll in Panaji from November 20 to 24 - coinciding with the International Film Festival of India - has evolved into one of the most important platforms for discovering, supporting and showcasing South Asian content. Producers and directors can hope to have their scripts brushed up, and find financial collaborators here.
Organised by the National Film Development Corporation of India, the bazaar will have two additional features this year. One of them will be a section on Indian tourism, where representatives from the Centre and states will pitch their projects to the attending delegates - highlighting the potential in various parts of the country. Obviously, cinema will be a strong angle here: scenic spots that may be used to shoot movies from abroad.
The second feature will be called Investor Pitch - which will include two sessions. The first will entail pitching scripts in the romance genre that will be mentored by Habib Faisal (screenwriter and director, Band Baja Baaraat, Ishaqzaade), Bhavani Iyer (screenwriter, Lootera and Guzaarish) and Girish Joshi (Raanbhool, Kakasparsha) The second session will include those movies which are seeking funds for completion.
Also, the Film Bazaar will see the culmination of the first-ever Romance Screenwriters' Lab - conducted in association with Harlequin, whose Mills and Boon novels have been around in India for decades. For some years now, Harlequin has been getting on board Indian authors and setting plots within the country with desi characters and situations. So May becomes Maya, and Randolph turns into Rajeev.
Yet another high point of the Bazaar will be the new development in the Viewing Room, where a section on world cinema will screen acclaimed works in foreign languages looking for distributors and buyers in South Asia. One hopes that some great British and French cinema would find the right outlet here.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran will cover the Film Bazaar and the International Film Festival of India this year for Hindustan Times)