By Rodrigues C
SEVERAL Indian films are heading to the Busan international Film Festival which begins next Wednesday (October 4-13). Much of the Indian media has gone gaga over the fact that star director Karan Johar’s Bollywood hit film, ‘Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani’, is on its way there.
While there is a strong Hollywood, world and European cinema selection as well, including Alexander Payne’s, ‘The Holdovers’, David Fincher’s ‘The Killer’, Yorgos Lanthimos’s ‘Poor Things’ and Ken Loach’s ‘The Old Oak’, we look at the films from South Asia.
Here’s the individual breakdown…
Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani (India)
Director Johar’s box office smash (after an absence of seven years away from the big screen) will be showcased at the Open Cinema section of BIFF. The romance, which also stars Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi and Dharmendra, is about Rocky Randhawa (Ranveer Singh), a Punjabi businessman and Rani Chatterjee (Alia Bhatt), a Bengali journalist, who fall in love inspite of objections from their families and internal differences. The film crossed the £300m mark recently and some have declared it a welcome return to old school classic Bollywood. We reviewed positively.
Against the Tide (India/France)
Two fishermen friends from Mumbai’s indigenous Koli community deal the with the impact of the changing environment in this documentary, directed by Sarvanik Kaur, who won the special jury award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2023. While one embraces technology due to deep pockets and education, the other lags behind because of lack of resources.
This Manoj Bajpayee starrer will be screened at the – A Window on Asian Cinema programme. Directed by Devashish Makhija the thriller is about a displaced tribal who is on the run to save his daughter. The movie premiered at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam (IFFR) earlier this year, participated at the Sydney Film Festival and Edinburgh International Film Festival and won the Best Actor and Best Cinematography trophies at the Durban International Film Festival.
Paradise (India/Sri Lanka)
The film deals with the lives of a couple, played by Roshan Mathew and Darshana Rajendran, from Kerala, India as they land in Sri Lanka during the country’s economic crisis. The Malayalam, Tamil, English, Hindi and Sinhala feature, which is directed by Sri Lankan filmmaker Prasanna Vithanage, will have its world premiere at BIFF. It is presented by filmmaker Mani Ratnam under his Madras Talkies banner and produced by Kochi-based Newton Cinema.
This Kanu Behl directorial will be screened at A Window on Asian Cinema section also. It stars Mohit Agarwal, Vibha Chibber, Sonal Jha, Rahul Roy and Aanchal Goswami. We saw and covered this film at its world premiere at Director’s Fortnight in Cannes in May. It’s about a young man who is struggling with his desires – and living with his parents in Agra. It also won the Best Indie Film at Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.
Here is writer-director Behl and Agarwal talking about it to us in Cannes…
The Spark (India)
Director Rajesh S Jala’s film throws spotlight on violence. It’s the story of a filmmaker, who is on an assignment to follow a crematorium worker and an old woman in Varanasi with his camera. Jala’s 2008 documentary ‘Children of the Pyre’ is a winner of awards at the Montreal and Sao Paolo film festivals.
A Road To A Village (Nepal)
Directed by Nabin Subba, this drama takes us into the lives of a rural Nepali family, whose lives are changed forever after a new road connects them to the world outside. The movie’s lead protagonist is Maila (Dayahang Rai), whose seven-year-old son Bindray likes making toys from plants and soccer balls from socks and paper. Post the construction of the road he yearns to drink coke, listen to hip hop and wear sun glasses and even wants his father to buy a TV set. But Maila has other priorities, like paying his electricity bills that are due for months. The movie, which is set in the rural Himalayas, was selected for the 48th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival this year.
The story of a nine-year-old girl (Tulshi Khawash) and her adventure while trying to find her pet dog forms the basis of this film, described as heart-warming. It is directed by Darjeeling-based director Saurav Rai, who won a jury award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic for the same movie earlier this year. The Hindi-Nepali movie also delves into village politics, the ineffectiveness of farming and a combination of folk tales and mythology.
Flickering Lights (India)
This Anupama Srinivasan and Anirban Dutta directorial will be screened at the Wide Angle documentary competition. The work follows the lives of three characters, who receive news that their small remote village on the India-Myanmar border may be electrified.
The Scavenger of Dreams (India)
Director Suman Ghosh’s drama, features Sudipta Chakraborty and Shardul Bhardwaj, who are in the waste collection profession. The couple salvage items from the waste on an everyday basis and weave stories around them, which they narrate to their daughter.
Pictures courtesy of Busan International Film Festival
Busan International Film Festival 2023 (English) – https://www.biff.kr/eng/
Our London Film Festival (LFF – October 6-15) preview will be out later this week….