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Lights! Camera! Goa!

Want to attend a master class with David Dhawan or see Akshay Kumar in person? Head for the 49th International Film Festival of India

Goa will play host to the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) between November 20 and 28 this year. On display will be 212 films from over 68 countries. Along with the World Premiere of The Aspern Papers, IFFI will showcase seven best films of Ingmar Bergman along with a documentary on ‘Bergman Island’ as it is the 100th birth anniversary of the legend.

The practice of holding festivals started in Venice (Italy) in 1932 as part of the city’s traditional International Art exhibition. The Venice festival was followed in 1939 by the Cannes International film festival of France.


In India, the International film festival, for the first time, was organized in 1952 in Bombay, now Mumbai. Initially the film festivals got held in different cities and the 26th International film festival (IFFI) was held in Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala). The festival had a focus on South Africa. It was very well organized. As a media critic, I still recall those films and enjoyed staying in Kerala — God’s own country.

The opening of the festival will be with the world premiere of the period drama The Aspern Papers. The cast of the film Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Golden Globe winner), Joely Richardson (Oscar-nominated actress), Morgane Polanski (actress and daughter of Roman Polanski) and filmmaker Julien Landais will be present at the screening. The film tells a story of obsession, loss and dreams of Byronic adventures.

Every year IFFI features a Country of Focus that brings out the cinematic excellence and contributions of that particular Country. This year the International Film Festival’s Committee has chosen Israel as a country to focus, while Jharkhand will be the State Focus. Ten films in collaboration with the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai have been selected for the country focus package.


The Opening film for the Country Focus Section is The Other Story by Avi Nesher. The special guest will be the famous Israeli Actor Alon Aboutboul known for Hollywood films including, Rambo III, Munich by Steven Spielberg, Body of Lies by Ridley Scott and The Dark Knight Rises. Incidentally, this time famous Israeli filmmaker Dan Wolman will be getting the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Biopics are gaining more and more popularity as a genre in India. In the last few years, Bollywood has produced some iconic sports biopics. Thus, the festival will showcase Gold, Mary Kom, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, 1983, MS Dhoni: The untold story and Soorma. These will be screened as an extension of the Khelo India Branding under the guidance of Col (retd) Rajyavardhan Rathore, who himself is a sports enthusiast. Akshay Kumar, Rakesh Omprakash Mehra, Chitrangada Singh and Reema Kagti will attend the event to present their sports-centric films.

Every year, recipient of Dadasaheb Phalke award, country’s most prestigious film award, is being honoured by IFFI. This year Vinod Khanna won the award posthumously. Thus, IFFI has chosen to screen some of the best films of the late veteran actor including Achanak, Lekin and Amar Akbar Anthony’. But this time, IFFI is not just showing films, it has variety of new attractions for the cine-lovers and audience across the globe.


Therefore, they are organising master class with famous filmmaker David Dhawan, Boney Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, along with younger generation filmmakers such as Meghna Gulzar, and actors Arjun Kapoor, Jahnvi Kapoor and Varun Dhawan along with censor board member Prasoon Joshi.

Famous South Indian film-makers Jairaj, Shaji Karun and Sreeram Raghvan will also be a part of this grand festival.

Last year, masterclasses with talented filmmaker Shekhar Kapoor and Prasoon Joshi was a great success and were thoroughly enjoyed by both film lovers and critics. In fact, they had a tough time in winding it up, as the audience interaction session was overwhelming.

As we all know, cinema has a powerful influence on the minds of the masses and has the potential of becoming a popular medium. That’s the reason why every time IFFI hires new press relation agencies and tries to create something new just to attract film lovers from across the globe.


This time IFFI invited famous Indian film critics Anupama Chopra Rajeev Masand and Bhawana Somaaya. Also, this year homage will be paid to late veterans such as Shashi Kapoor, Sridevi, M Karunanidhi and Kalpana Lajmi among others.

Two Bollywood films have been chosen to be screened on the festival — Sholay and Hichki. Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay is considered a classic cult film of the Indian film industry. While, Rani Mukherjee starrer Hichki is a relatively new age slice of film, which has garnered appreciation from the audience as well as the critics. This film will be showcased as part of a Special Package for Visually Impaired Children.

Another highlight this year is the Kaleidoscope section which will howcase 20 critically acclaimed international films that have been to major film festivals. Interestingly, World Panorama section has specially chosen 67 films including 4 World Premieres, 2 International Premieres, 15 Asia Premieres and 60 India Premieres.


IFFI is also making efforts to give small towns recognition by celebrating Jharkhand Day along with Jharkhand Package. Also, films like Death in the Gunj, Ranchi Diaries and Begum Jaan will be screened. Famous South Indian filmmaker Shaji N Karun’s OLU will be the Opening feature film of Indian Panorama.

Kharvas directed by Aditya Suhas Jambhale will be the opening non-feature film of Indian Panorama. As part of this section, 21 non-feature and 26 feature films are selected by the Indian Panorama Jury.

Last year, feature film jury was headed by noted filmmaker Shekhar Kapoor and this year it will be headed by acclaimed filmmaker and screenwriter Shri Rahul Rawail, including other prominent members.


But the Non-Feature Film Jury is headed by acclaimed filmmaker and editor Shri Vinod Ganatra. Another intriguing section this year is Sketch on Screen (Animation Film Package) in collaboration with Indian studios.

 

 

 


No doubt, IFFI has already garnered a great amount of buzz owing to the screening of some of the finest works by Bollywood filmmakers Rajkumar Hirani, Madhur Bhandarkar, Shekhar Kapoor, Vishal Bhardwaj, Reema Kagti among others.

 

 


Due to IFFI’s growing popularity, a demand for a permanent venue in Goa for the festival has been made. But Goa CM Manohar Parrikar has already said that they will have a bigger space in Dona Pola and there an IFFI complex will be built soon. He said, “IFFI has come a long way since 1952 and has been organised in Goa for the last one decade (from 2004) and in 2014 it became a permanent venue.”