Curtain Raiser: India at Berlin International Film Festival 2014
BY AMIT UPADHYAYA • PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 6, 2014
The 64th edition of Berlin International Film Festival that kicks off today has strong Indian presence with ten Indian films screening in various sections. The festival will be held from February 6-16, 2014.
Imtiaz Ali’s Highway and Jayan Cherian’s Papilio Buddha, which is in contention for the Teddy Award, will be screened in the Panorama section.
Pushpendra Singh’s Lajwanti, K. Hariharan and Mani Kaul’sGhashiram Kotwal (1976) and Jessica Sadana & Samarth Dikshit’s Prabhat Pheri will be screened in the Forum section.
The Forum Expanded section will see the screening of Blood Earth directed by Kush Badhwar and Mount Song directed by Shambhavi Kaul.
Avinash Arun’s Killa and Gaurav Saxena’s Rangzen will be screened in the Generation K Plus section, targeted at children and young audience of the festival.
Satyajit Ray’s Nayak will be screened as a part of the Berlinale Classics section.
Here are more details about the films:
Highway by Imtiaz Ali (Panorama)
Highway is a coming-of-age story of Veera who gets kidnapped by Mahavir and finds ‘freedom in bondage’. Starring Randeep Hooda and Alia Bhatt, the film is set for a theatrical release in India on 21 February, 2014. This is Ali’s first film to screen at any major film festival.
Papilio Buddha by Jayan Cherian (Panorama)
The Malayalam-language film portrays the struggle of a group of displaced dalits in the Western Ghats of India against the local powers and government told through Shankaran, an educated youth, who is indifferent to the resistance movement run by his father. After an initial refusal of Censor certificate, the film got released last year. It has been screened at Montreal World Film Festival, Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival and Athens International Film and Video Film Festival in 2013.
Ghashiram Kotwal by K. Hariharan and Mani Kaul (Forum)
Set against the backdrop of political intrigue and corruption, Ghashiram Kotwal describes the development and fall of the Peshwa regime in western India. It was made in 1976 by two of the most notable names in the Indian parallel cinema movement; Kaul and Hariharan. Interestingly, the film survives only because the Berlinale had once produced a German-subtitled print of the film. A new digital print of the film will be shown at the festival this year.
Prabhat Pheri by Jessica Sadana and Samarth Dikshit (Forum)
Commissioned by Public Service Broadcasting Trust in 2011 and directed by Jessica Sadana and Samarth Dikshit; Prabhat Pheri is a documentary that explores the history of the complex in Pune where the legendary studios of the Prabhat Film Company once stood.
Lajwanti by Pushpendra Singh (Forum)
The film explores the inner struggles of a married woman to honour a dream and in that search find the higher meaning of love and freedom. It is based on a folk tale set in the Thar Desert by Rajasthani writer Vijaydan Detha.
Blood Earth by Kush Badhwar (Forum Expanded)
Based in Kucheipadar, Orissa, Blood Earth is a documentary that ‘explores the relationship between music, struggle, and cultural responses to violence via word and sound’. Directed by FTII alumnus Kush Budhwar, it won the Adolfas Mekas award at Experimenta 2013, the International Festival of Moving Image Art in Bangalore.
Mount Song by Shambhavi Kaul (Forum Expanded)
The 9 minute avant-garde Indo-US co-production is described as a “wild, foreboding gust courses through the night, a subdued elegance is brought forth from past cinema spectacles, whose generic albeit highly suggestive set constructions remain lodged in our imaginary.”
Nayak by Satyajit Ray (Berlinale Classics)
Winner of the National Award for Best Feature in Bengali in 1966, Ray’s Nayak is a film about a film star who is travelling to Delhi from Calcutta to receive his National Award and reveals a lot more about his personality to a young journalist than he intends to.
Killa by Avinash Arun (Generation K Plus)
Killa revolves around a young boy Chinu who finds it difficult to adjust to his new surroundings where he has migrated to, after his father’s death. But gradually he makes new friends and gains more confidence. Starring Amruta Subhash, Archit Deodhar, Parth Bhalerao and Shrikant Yadav, the film was part of NFDC Film Bazaar’s Work-in-Progress (WIP) Lab in 2013.
Rangzen by Gaurav Saxena (Generation K Plus)
Set in Dharamshala, Rangzen tells the story of an 8-year-old Tibetan boy’s discovery of his exiled refugee identity. The short film is a prelude to Rangzen, the feature film project, which was selected for Amsterdam Cinekid co-production market in October 2013.