Punjabi film Anhey Ghorhey Da Daan (Alms of the Blind Horse) on Friday bagged the Golden Peacock award for the best film at the 43rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) held in Goa. This is the first Punjabi film to win the prestigious IFFI award.
The movie, released last year, is directed by Delhi based Gurvinder Singh, a student of late film-maker Mani Kaul. It is based on a 1976 Punjabi novel of the same name by Jnanpith award winner Punjabi writer Gurdial Singh.
The award carries a certificate and a cash prize of Rs. 40 lakh, which is shared equally between the director and the producer. The National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) has produced the film.
Reacting to the news, the film's Chandigarh based lead actor Samuel John said, "It is a proud
moment for Punjab as well as Punjabi cinema. This award holds testimony to the fact that Anhey Ghorhey Da Daan is a milestone and a major breakthrough in contemporary Indian cinema."
The Punjabi film was chosen as the best among 15 films from across the world.
"Gurvinder Singh is a genius. With his maiden film, he has taken Punjabi cinema to the international level and has made us all proud. I am sure his next two films, which are in the pipeline, will prove to be equally significant," said London-based poet Amarjit Chandan.
The film, which tells the woeful tale of a small farmer in Bathinda district, earlier won national awards for best direction, cinematography and best feature film at the 59th National Film Awards of India. A large number of actors in the film are common villagers.
The union ministry of information and broadcasting and the Goa government jointly conduct the festival every year. The 43rd edition of IFFI was held at Panaji from November 20 to 30.
Founded in 1952, IFFI is among the most significant film festivals in Asia.