Saturday, November 21, 2009
40th International Film Festival to being with a bang from Nov. 23
By Navdeep Aguiar
The 40th International Film Festival of India gets underway from 23rd November 2009. This 11 day extravaganza is the biggest annual film event in South Asia. Goa's people are known for their taste, understanding and judgment of various aspects of dramas, teatros and films. Goa is also the home of some of the outstanding film personalities, who gained recognition both at home and abroad for their creativity, talent, sensitivity and insight into the human nature. It is therefore fitting that Goa be a permanent IFFI venue.
Last year the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) commenced with the period Chinese film ‘The Warlords’ set in the 1860s, during the Taiping Rebellion in the Qing Dynasty, as the opening film. The opening ceremony was simple and elegant and keeping with international standards. Noted Film Actress Rekha was the Chief Guest at the inaugural ceremony. The Governor of Goa Dr S. S. Sidhu, the Chief Minister, Mr. Digambar V. Kamat and the Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, Shri Anand Sharma graced the occasion besides several important film personalities. Telugu actress of Goan origin Illina D.Cruz was the special guest to assist the dignitaries in lightning the ceremonial lamp. Bollywood actress Amrita Rao hosted the inaugural ceremony as the master of ceremony.
The Indian Premiers section was handled by the ESG which included seven new feature films. ‘Saawariya.com’ a Konkani film along with others films like ‘Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye!’, ‘Thanks Maa’ ( both Hindi), ‘Tandala- Ek Mukhavata’ (Marathi), ‘One Day in Cochin’ (Malayalam/ French/ English). The prestigious film event felicitated Bengali Director, Mrinal Sen, evergreen Actor, Dev Anand, legendary South Indian Director, K Balchander and noted Film Editor from Goa, Waman Bhonsle.
International Film Festival of India (IFFI)-2009 will start in Kala Academy, Panaji, Goa on November 23, 2009. The Chinese historical drama “Wheat” has been chosen as the opening film. The film is set in 260 B.C when China was mired in a long and bloody war between the Qin and the Zhao that could not be settled for decades. Veteran Film Actress Waheeda Rehman will be the Chief Guest at the inaugural ceremony. The Governor of Goa Dr S. S. Sidhu, the Chief Minister, Shri Digambar V. Kamat and the Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Smt. Ambika Soni will also grace the occasion. Well-known actress Asin would be special guest for lighting the ceremonial lamp. Internationally renowned actor Kabir Bedi and artist Divya Dutta would be compeering the Opening Ceremony.
The 11-day extravaganza is divided into various sections: Film Programmes, Non Film Programmes, Film Bazaar, Short Film Center and Cultural Activities. The Film Programming is the core of the festival and screens nearly 300 films during the period of 11 days across 10 Auditoria and 3 preview rooms in the cities of Panaji and Margao in Goa. The most popular sections in the film programming include competitions for feature films from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Cinema of the World, Tributes, Homage’s, Retrospectives, Country Focus films, Indian Panorama and specially curated sections.
The Indian Premier Section will showcase a selection of eight films during the 40th International Film Festival of India, Goa 2009. The films selected include “And Once Again” by Director Shri Amol Palekar, “Red Alert: The War Within” by Director Shri Ananth Mahadevan, “God Lives in the Himalayas” by Director Shri Sanjay Srinivas, “Shahrukh Bola Khoobsoorat Hai” by Director Shri Makran Deshpande and “Zagor“ by Director Sangramsinh Gaikwad.
The Short Film Center is a business platform being created at the International Film Festival of India, Goa between November 24 to December 2, 2009. It is an effort to bring short film makers, buyers, festival organizers and funding agencies on to one single platform.
The IFFI also conducts a special festival fair on the sidelines at the Cornice between Old GMC and Kala Academy. This fair is organized by the picturesque River Mandovi between 23rd November to 3rd December 2009. The fair presents glimpses into the life and culture of Goa and an opportunity for festival delegates and local population to celebrate this festival of Cinema.
The Festival would conclude on December 03, 2009 with presentation of Golden and Silver Peacock Awards for Best Film and Best Director, the Special Jury Awards as also the Vasudha and Golden Lamp Tree Awards for the short films. Malayalam Star Mammootty will be the Chief Guest at the Closing Ceremony.
There are many famous Konkani films too which should get due recognition at the IFFI and the artistes of which definitely deserved to be honoured. January 31 is a memorable day in the little-noticed history of Konkani cinema, that comes from the region of Goa, but has been taken forward often by the expat communities in places
like Bombay (now Mumbai). It was on this date in 1950 that Al Jerry Braganza, influenced by the Konkani novel of Dioguinho D'Mello, decided to do a film based on it and did the 'muhurat' (inaugural shot) on this day. Soon, the film 'Mogacho Anvddo' was released on April 24, 1950 at Mapusa. In the 1960s and 1970s there were good films in Konkani. The second Konkani film 'Amchem Noxib' was released in 1963 under the banner of Frank Films. The film was a super-hit. The songs of this film continue to be popular even today. Film 'Nirmon' by Frank Fernandes was released in 1966. This film also was a super-hit. In 1967 it was again Al Jerry Braganza who released his second film 'Sukhachem Sopon', under the banner of Helen Productions. This film had melodious music and lyrics by Alfred Rose.
'Mhoji Ghorkarn' was released in 1969 under the banner of Movierama. In the year 1970, Britona Films came up with its new release 'Kortobancho Sounsar'. The dialogues of this film were written by Reginald Fernandes.
Soon Ambika Films came out with its 'Jivit Amchem Oxem' by Muthu Krishan Das. In 1975, Ambika Films, again, came out with another film 'Bogllant', which was based on the teatro 'No Vacancy' by Prem Kumar. In the year 1977, the United Youngsters of Mangalore brought out the first coloured Konkani film called 'Mog Ani Moipass'.
In the same year, Chris Perry and Tony Coutinho brought out another film called 'Buyarantlo Munis' in colour under the banner of Chripton Motion Pictures. The film had music by the musician with the golden trumpet, Chris Perry and playback singing by the famous Asha Bhosle. In 1978 Konkan Pictures of Mangalore came out with its film 'Tisri Chitt'. In 1981, another Konkani group brought out 'Jana Mana'. In 1982, Priya Productions brought our 'Suzane'. This film had lyrics by Alfred Rose and playback singing by Manna Dey and Bhupinder, also significant names.
In 1980 the GSB Mandal brought out 'Tapaswani' followed by 'Girastkai' by Muthu Krshnan Das. This film had cast of Christopher and Meena Leitao. 'Bhogsonne' produced by Richard Castelino bagged the best regional film award in the State of Karnataka. The film culture has come to stay in Goa and lot of good films like 'Shitu', 'Dekhni Durai', 'Aleesha', 'Kanteantlem Ful' and others have come.
There is lot of talent in Goa with upcoming actors and actresses and in direction and production. Today is one of those rare days --- a konkani film “Poltodcho Monis” has won an international award. Hats off to Lakshmikant, Prashanti and others.
Goa is thrilled to host yet another film festival and one can be sure the State will make a success of the event. The film festival held in Goa last years were highly appreciated by one and all. It left a deep imprint even in the minds of international film personalities, who were impressed by the hospitality of Goa and the quality of the festival, which maintained a reasonably good standard.
When cinema came into being, it was almost like another piece of magic -- as the 'magic lantern' name suggests. But in a short span, cinema matured into a great form of art. The seventh art. In one century it has surpassed all other forms of communications. Today the cinematic form of expression is the language through which people understand massive volumes of information stored and imparted. Film festivals, wherever they are conducted, hold people together and light the lamp of hope and brotherhood. The great works of cinema speak to us that the humanity had survived many a catastrophe in the past and will be able to do in the future also.
India is the biggest producer of films in the world. Nearly 800-900 films are made every year in our country, in many languages. At the same time, we cannot escape the fact that the culture of cinema in our country is facing a crisis of sorts. While this may partly be due to the wide reach of television, especially through satellite channels and cable operators, which has affected attendance in the theatres, it also cannot be denied that the
overall quality of films produced in the country leaves much to be desired. Many films made today are essentially weak in both form and content and make no lasting impression on viewers. While it may be true that films, like many other projects, are expected to give a return on the investments made, it is also necessary to recognize that box-office successes should not be the only consideration. Our films should be socially relevant, conveying a strong social message, which makes the viewers reflect seriously, and sets in motion their thought process. Our heritage, our culture, our civilization, our history, our literature, our democratic fabric, our development and our achievements on the one side and our shortcomings on the other can offer many themes for fascinating and wonderful films if they made with skill and sensitivity.
One can have no doubt that the medium of films, which is very powerful, can directly and indirectly help in the task of overall national development by motivating and inspiring people. Films have a universal appeal and are watched by the literate and illiterate, by adults and children, by the rural and urban population, by all castes and communities. It is, therefore, all the more necessary that films should be meaningful, wholesome and socially relevant. In short, they should be works of art, which can be treasured and enjoyed
for all times to come. IFFI-2009, the 40th in the series, will surely contribute towards the cause of good cinema by getting together a package of some of the best films made in India and in other countries. The Government of India is furthering the cause of good cinema and the international film festival is one of the means towards achieving this end.
Apart from the viewing of films, the festival also provides a forum for interaction between Indian and foreign film-makers, technicians, critics, students of cinema and film lovers. This, in a way, is one of the most important aspects of the festival. In the host state, the Entertainment Society of Goa(ESG) plays a supporting role in the organization of this
important event along with the Directorate of Film Festivals.