Saturday, 15 August 2015

Maharashtra Chief Minister Mr. Devendra Fadnavis & Union Environment Minister Mr. Prakash Javadekar inaugurated '13th PIFF'. Artists Shatrughan Sinha, Tanuja Mukherji , Poet Mahanor & Polish filmmaker Krzysztof  Zanussi were also there with director of  'PIFF' Dr. Jabbar Patel.

This year's '13th Pune International Film Festival's 'Prabhat Best International Feature Film Award' won by Cuban film 'Behavior'! And 'Sant Tukaram Best International Marathi Film Award' shared between 'Elizabeth Ekadashi' & 'Killa'! 
Ethiopian film 'Difret'.

Romantic scene from Russian film 'Test'.
It's 'Audience Best Film Award' won by Russian film 'Test' and 'Prabhat Best International Feature Film Director Award' shared between 'Test's filmmaker Alexander Kott & Czech Republic movie 'Like Never Before's director Zdenek Tyc! And Ethiopian film 'Difret's artist Tizita Hagere got Special Jury Award!
Image from Czech Republic film 'Like Never Before'.

'Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Chitrapat Maha Mandal's Best Marathi Film Director award won by Bhaurao Karhade for 'Khwada' and film 'Ek Hazarachi Note's actress Usha Naik won Best Artist award! Marathi film 'Salaam' got audience award! With 'International Students Films Competitioin', this time 'MTDC' Short Film Competition' was introduced!
Marathi film 'Killa'.
Again this year there was no change in the selection of films for world competition! As usual most of the films in this section were not up to that standard & disappointed in genre too! (Last year there were few films with superstitious elements in it!) 'PIFF' organizers should seriously think about the selection of films and who mainly select it for world competition! Some good films were outside of the competition in Global Cinema section! Some of the good films (including opening 'Timbuktu' & award winner 'Behavior') were came from 'IFFI'!
Emotional scene from Cuban film 'Behavior'.

Same thing about other sections like Retrospectives! There was no Homage section to late film personalities like K.Balchander! On the backdrop of 100 years of world war the theme of '13th PIFF' was 'War against war', but very few films related to theme were there, in which I was expecting early east European cinema; but half of the films screened in it were from Germany! There was also 225th anniversary of French Revolution, so film 'Danton' was appropriate to screen; but there was French Grand Classics section! With this also suggested to screen 'Gone with the wind' on the occasion of it's 75th anniversary & it's backdrop of war too! And importantly asked Homage section of Filmmaker Guru Dutt on his 50th death anniversary..But not included!
Myself with filmmaker Ms.Samruddhi Porey.
In last '12th PIFF' there was retrospective of renowned Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini but without his masterpiece 'Eight & half' and also there was focus on renowned French filmmaker Jean Renoir but without his masterpiece 'Rules of the Game'! There should be some logic for retrospectives & special sections!
Myself with Anandji Shah & Dr.Patel.

'PIFF' is after Mumbai & Aurangabad, from this year started in Pimpri-Chinchwad too! Good, but qualitative growth is important than quantitative! This time awarded veteran film personalities' AVs were also with some mistakes, which honourable guest also pointed out! Two members of films selection committee (one old & one new) have been keeping the hold on 'PIFF's content. And their aptitude of not accepting any valid suggestion is just monopoly! This up to press conferences & screenings arrangements too! Now this is not private film festival, so liberal approach should be there!

'PIFF' should seriously think about comprehensive development in it's structure..from selection of films with right content & international festival screenings management!
As well wisher of 'PIFF' I expressed the feelings! So organizers please take care!
Best wishes for the future of 'PIFF'!!

-Manoj Kulkarni

Thursday, 13 August 2015


Almost a decade over..our 'Internatioanal Film Festival of India' ('IFFI' ) came & settled in Goa! But to achieve the status of prestigious international film festivals like ''Cannes'' (which inspired 'IFFI' to settle in Goa) organizers should have comprehensive concrete plan! Our this main film festival should grow rapidly & show it's spectacular picture!!
Amitabh Bachchan felicitating Rajinikanth with 'Centenary Award'.

'45th International Film Festival of India' held in Goa..with it's special highlights! This time also there was the International Competition section with 15 films in it. This time in Indian Panorama there were 26 films in Feature Films section and 16 films were in Non-Feature Films section. And there was Cinema of the World with varied genre! ..There were also other categories like Masterstrokes, Soul of Asia..with regular Country focus, Retrospective & Homage sections! Apart from this there were special sections like 'Window on South Asian Cinema', 'Restored Classics', 'Focus on North East Tales of Women', 'Tribute to Masters' and 'Celebrating Dance in Indian Cinema'!
Filmmakers Shaji Karun and Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

This '45th IFFI' started with the grand inauguration function in the presence of legendary actors Amitabh Bachchan & Rajinikanth! Inaugural film of this festival was 'The President' (Georgia, France, UK, Germany/2014) directed by renowned Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf! Political drama in genre, this film tells the story of a dictator who comes face to face with the people he previously subjugated. It's director Makhmalbaf was present in festival with filmmaker wife Marziyeh Meshkini for his retrospective in it! Their films like 'Salam Cinema' & 'The Day I Became A Woman' were in it and it was nice talking with them in the press conference!
'Indian Panorama' section of this festival opened with Marathi feature film 'Elizabeth Ekadashi'!
Marathi film 'Elizabeth Ekadashi'.
While watching this film remembered renowned Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi's famous movie 'Children of Heaven'! I told this to it's director Paresh Mokashi! This time (highest) seven Marathi films were in it, which includes 'Dr.Prakash Baba Aamte', 'Ek Hazarachi Note', 'Killa', 'Lokmanya:Ek Yugpurush', 'Yellow' & 'Rainy Day'! With Marathi there were maximum number of Malayalam & then Bengali films! Malayalam film 'Swapanam' was on the tragedy of drum player's dream! Shaji Karun directed this film is like the next film (of trilogy) after his movie 'Vanaprastham' which was on the life of Kathakalli dancer..I mentioned this while talking to him! 
One thriller kind of Malayalam film 'Drishyam' was which Mohanlal acted superb!
Kannada film '1 December'
Mohanlal in Malayalam film 'Drishyam'.
Bengali film 'Teen Kahon' tells three stories of changing faces of  morality & social values! While watching it's first part remembered Satyajit Ray's 'Samapti' from 'Teen Kanya', second part had impact of French new wave and last shocking part was..Hitchcock's style! While talking with it's director Bauddhayan Mukherji, I discussed it accordingly which he appreciated!
One serious issue based film was in it..Kannada '1 December' of which director P. Sheshadri and actress Niveditha were present there. Odiya film 'Adim Vichar' also came with social issue! With these features some of the non-feature films were which the opening film was 'The Last Adieu' on great documentary maker S. Sukhdev, which made by his daughter Shabnam who was present there! Other strong contemporary films in this section were 'Womb on Rent' & 'Bahadur'! Now Konkani cinema started promoting on the 'IFFI' which there was a trailer & music launch of local film 'Home Sweet Home'!
Filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta & myself.

In Master class of this festival..had a good interaction with renowned Polish filmmaker Krzystof Zanussi and after that our Indian filmmaker Shekhar Kapoor! Bengali filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta also talked on 'The Art of Story Writing in Cinema'! Interacted with writer-filmmaker Gulzar at the inauguration of his retrospective section! His unreleased movie 'Libaas' (1988) screened in it! His daughter & filmmaker Meghana Gulzar was also present at the occasion!
Assamese film 'Ajeyo'.
There was also retrospective of leading filmmaker of Assam, Jahnu Barua and it inaugurated with his film 'Ajeyo' which commented on the injustice in the society! His films reflecting the realism..from 'Halodhia choraye baodhan khai' to recent 'Bandhon' were there in it! He was present with family & we had good interaction!

 This time comparatively Asian Cinema was better in this festival which includes films like 'Jhola' (Nepal), 'Pattern of Love' (Bhutan), 'Time between dog and wolf' (South Korea),'The day I became a woman' (Iran), 'Mardan' (Kurdistan/Iraq), 'A few Cubic meters of Love' (Afghanistan/Iran) & 'Genuine Love' (China). This Asian Cinema depicted burning social issues and love, humanity! 

Myself & Chinese filmmaker Xin Zhang.
Nepali film 'Jhola'
There was one good Uzbekistan's film in 'Festival Kaleidoscope' section..'40 Days of Silence' (Uzbekistan & Tajiskistan) which focused on the silence of one beautiful girl among four women from four generations in house! There was a Retrospective of South Korean filmmaker Jeon Soo-Il and in it his film 'Time Between Dog & Wolf' was on how the professor of media torn between the artistic ideals & the realities of life! In 'International Competition' section also Chinese film 'Genuine Love' touched the heart! Silzati Jakov & Xin Zhang directed this movie focused on very kind hearted woman's great social work of adopting homeless children! In this section there was Azerbaijan's film on the war backdrop..'Nabat' in which title role superbly performed by Fatemeh Motamed Arya!

Myself with Bhutan's filmmaker Karma Deki & DOP.
Myself with Mr. & Mrs. Ramesh Sippy.
Important Open Forum on 'Women in Cinema' held in this festival in which women film personalities participated were Sepideh Farsi & Fatemeh Motamed Arya (Iran), Karma Deki (Bhutan) & Seema Biswas (India). And the key issues discussed in it were 'Freedom of Expression and Cinematic Libertry'! Had a good interaction with Karma Deki about her outstanding film 'Pattern of Love'!..Before concluding of  this festival I had informal discussion with renowned filmmaker Ramesh Sippy (legendary Indian film 'Sholay' fame) in his master class on "How to make first film?" He talked with me on his genre & craft of film making and the classics inspired him too!
Filmmaker Wong Kar Wai receiving 'Lifetime Achievement Award'.
In this festival there was a important conversation on 'IFFI' Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow' in which eminent filmmakers like Shaji Karun, Mike Pandey (President - IDPA) & CEO of 'ESG' Rajan Satardekar participated. In this open forum I also expressed my views that ''Organizers should have comprehensive concrete plan to celebrate the golden jubilee of 'IFFI' which is coming in five years!"
Award winner Russian film 'Leviathan'.

This '45th IFFI's 'Lifetime Achievement Award' was presented to Hong Kong's renowned filmmaker Wong Kar Wai & his movie 'Grand Master' screened as closing film!  It's an epic action feature inspired from the life of legendary Kung Fu master! Filmmaker Wong Kar Wai himself wrote it's screenplay with Zou Jingzi & Xu Haofeng and it cinematographed by Phileppe Le Sourd!
Artists performed in it are Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Song Hye-Kyo, Wong Hing-Cheung & Julian Cheung Chilam! Wong Kar Wai is popular as master of action & images..and this picture presents it excellently!

'45th IFFI's  all the awards winners in a group photo!
In concluding ceremony..'IFFI's prestigious 'Golden Peacock Award' won by Russian film 'Leviathan'! This film depicts the picture of corruption through the land dispute between common mechanic and mayor of the town! It's a kind of new cinema from modern Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev! It's star Alexis Serebryakov got 'Best Actor' award which shared by Dulal Sarkar of Bengali film 'Chotoder Chobi'! And 'Best Director' award was given to Nadav Lapid for Israeli film 'The Kindergarten Teacher'..Poetry loving teacher discovers child poet & takes him under wings to save his greatness from the a theme of this film! In this title role played by Sarit Larry who won 'Best Actress' award which shared by Alina Rodriguez for Cuban film 'Behaviour'! Marathi film 'Ek Hazarachi Note' received Jury Prize! 

-Manoj Kulkarni