Golden oldies hold sway

Even as contemporary Bollywood films do the rounds at IFFI, the golden oldies are holding their own at the IFFI, writes Saibal Chatterjee.

india Updated: Nov 29, 2005 15:22 IST

Even as contemporary Bollywood films do the rounds at IFFI, the golden oldies are holding their own at the 36th International Film Festival of India.

On Saturday evening, a tribute to Ismail Merchant was kicked off at the INOX multiplex in Panaji in the presence of Shashi Kapoor, a close friend and professional associate of the late producer-director. The film screened in the evening was In Custody, Merchant’s feature directorial debut.

The Mumbai-born Merchant was an Indian at heart and world citizen by disposition. He was indeed the subcontinent’s first real global player. His body of work as a producer and director adds up to nearly 50 films.

His strength lay in his ability to get a project off the ground in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, a feat that he accomplished repeatedly thanks to his immense charm and unbreakable tenacity.

Merchant’s relevance today is greater than ever before. As Indian filmmakers seek to make inroads into foreign territories, his success story can only be a source of inspiration.

A still from Chupke Chupke which was shown as a part of Hrishikesh Mukherji's retrospective. The golden oldies are holding their own at IFFI.

Merchant discovered the magic of cinema as a student in Mumbai but went on to carve a niche for himself in Britain, Hollywood and beyond. He dared to dream big and, even more exceptionally, he had the courage of his conviction to turn his ambitions into reality.

In all, six of Merchant’s films are being screened in Goa as part of the tribute to his yeoman contribution to cinema – In Custody, Howards End, A Room with a View, The Golden Bowl, The Remains of the Day and Heat and Dust.

On Sunday morning, veteran Mumbai filmmaker Hrishikesh Mukherjee will be the dominant flavour at the INOX multiplex. Superstar of yesteryears Rajesh Khanna will be the chief guest at the inauguration of the retrospective of Mukherjee’s films. Anand has been selected as the opening film of the section.

One of the films that the DFF was particularly keen to get into the Mukherjee retrospective is the Dharmendra starrer, Satyakam. But the search for a good print of the film drew a blank.

As Mukherjee is too ill to make the trip to Goa, a taped message from the widely loved director is expected to be played before the screening of Anand.

King of Romance Gemini Ganesan, who passed away earlier this year, is another Indian cinema great who is in line for a special homage at the ongoing IFFI. His daughter, the timeless Rekha, will be in attendance when Ganesan’s 1960 hit Parthiban Kanavu is screened.

Legends are forever. Time cannot dim their glory. Of all the glittering things that are on view here during the 36th IFFI, that particular truth about the masters of the past is the most obvious.

First Published: Nov 29, 2005 20:00 IST