October 14 2014
The Zurich Film Festival (September 25-October 5) celebrated its tenth anniversary and featured a varied and popular Indian selection.
Commentator Ashanti Omkar and photographer Akin Aworan were there. Aworan captured some of the prominent faces of the festival, while Omkar gives us an inside view of the films and personalities.
All the pictures are by Akin Aworan (www.aworan.com)
Omkar, soon-to-be-BBC Asian Network radio presenter (with a show focusing on all things South Indian from October 26) and BBC London and BBC West Midlands Indian cinema expert, was a guest of the 10th anniversary Zurich Film Festival and filed this report for www.asianculturevulture.com
A NUMBER of Indian films were shown in the India New World View section and festival co-directors Nadja Schildknecht and Karl Spoerri were keen to showcase the best from India at the festival.
There was a huge buzz in the city – film composer and producer Hans Zimmer and actor Diane Keaton were presented with lifetime achievement awards, while stars Benicio Del Toro and Antonio Banderas walked the green carpet (promoting environmental awareness) and the whole town knew about the festival with flags and the festival’s very own distinctive ‘eye-catching’ logo.
The India focus was on independent cinema, as opposed to the “woods” of Indian cinema, such as Bollywood and Kollywood, and curated by Georg Bütler, the senior programmer of the festival.
Despite not ever going to India, Georg was able to find 12 of the best films from the subcontinent. The fanfare for the India section began with a Bollywood flash mob, at SihlCity, a vibrant cinema and mall and there was a deliciously catered India party to mark the opening.
From India’s Oscar entry this year – director Geetu Mohandas’ “Liar’s Dice” (starring Nawazuddin Siddique and Gitanjali Thapa and child actress Manya Gupta stealing the show), to runner-up Nagraj Manjule’s “Fandry” (with teenager Somnath Avghade shining in his very first cinema outing) to regional language films (Marathi, Kannada and Tamil), the selection was astutely done.
There were a raft of other impressive films – among them was Kerala director Kamal KM’s “I.D.” starring the same effervescent Thapa and produced by Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty, Nalan Kumarasamy’s Tamil comedic hit “Soodhu Kavvum”, which had a Swiss premiere and played to a full house of mainly Swiss non-resident Indians.
London Indian film festival audience winner “Lucia” (which was crowd-funded and in Kannada) also enjoyed a very popular screening with the Bangalore IT crowd in Zurich coming in throngs to support it.
Often called India’s super producer Guneet Monga was there with “Tigers”, a film by Academy-award winner Bosnian director and screenwriter, Danis Tanovic (“No Man’s Land”, 2001). Last year Monga brought the Indian international hit, “The Lunchbox” to Zurich. “Tigers” stars Bollywood name Emraan Hashmi in his first international role and also features Thappa in a story about one man’s battle against a multinational pharmaceutical company.
Two current films at the London Film Festival(October 8-19), “Titli” and “Court” enthralled audiences as did films that have previously screened in London – among them, “Ship of Theseus”, “Monsoon Shootout” and “Sulemani Keeda” (‘Writers‘), which screened on Channel 4 in early morning today in the UK as part of the broadcaster’s Indian Film Season.