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A heady affair at Goa

Yojana Sharma tracks the preparation for the grand film fiesta at Goa, which hosts the international festival for the second consecutive year.

india Updated: Nov 24, 2005 13:42 IST

The International Film Festival of India (IFFI), set for the second consecutive year in the picturesque and feisty Goa,will fete France as its country in focus this year. Goa is now the permanent venue for the festival.

IFFI 2005, starting on November 24, will feature more than 20 French films and also pay a tribute to the great French actress Isabelle Huppert.

"IFFI will play host to a special French delegation," informed Sanjit Rodrigues, CEO, Entertainment Society of Goa, while addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Friday afternoon. Jean-luc Leavaud, the cultural counselor of the French Embassy, actor-director Pooja Bhatt, Pakistani actress Meera and singer Shibani Kashyap also attended the conference.

Day 1 at IFFI will see Pooja Bhatt's Holiday, which has been extensively shot in Goa, and also the English version of Mangal Pandey - The Rising. Bhatt talked about her film and her undying love for Goa. "Often I mistake feni with water, which is why I am the way I am," she said pulling a fast one on herself. "You think of Goa and you think of holiday. Both things go hand in hand. I couldn't have chosen another location for my film," she said.

Her film revolves around a family who go on a vacation to Goa. Dino Morea and newcomer Onjolee Nair play the lead roles. Bhatt is all praises for Nair. "She is a fabulous dancer and a polished actor," says Bhatt. The film has a lot of dance sequences and rumour mills say that Morea spent months to hone his dancing skills.

Bhatt's films are often appreciated for their stunning landscapes, be it Spiti in Paap or the haunting desert shoots in Rog. "The only places that I go to spend holidays is Himachal and Goa. I have shot Paap in Spiti and had enough of the hills. Hence, I wanted a different location this time. And what better than Goa".

When Indian filmmakers go abroad to shoot, then why is Bhatt keen on Indian locations? "We have everything in India. We have the hills, the deserts, the beaches… then why go abroad. I want to make a film within Bollywood. I don't want to make films from outside," is her reply.

Bhatt asserted that young filmmakers should be encouraged. "I want young people to claim Bollywood" she says.

Pakistani actress Meera, who accompanied Bhatt, will be doing a special dance sequence during the IFFI celebrations.

Meanwhile, IFFI will also feature Manya Patil Seth's (Smita Patil's sister) debut film, Dubai Returned. Seth is turning a producer with the film and is neck deep into her new role. She has taken almost 3 years to complete the film. "The shooting had been completed in time but post-production took some time," she explains. Irrfan Khan stars in her film.

"I want to do meaningful films," Seth says. "I don't categorise cinema as main stream or small stream. I just mean good cinema," she says.

Shibani Kashyap, who has composed and sung two songs for Seth's film, will perform at the IFFI finale. Kashyap is anticipating some more playback projects and of course, her album, which will be out by next March.

With so much happening at the fest, IFFI 2005 promises to be a heady affair.

First Published: Nov 18, 2005 20:54 IST