12th Osian's film fest opens on a grand scale
Times of India
NEW DELHI: It was a much awaited event that made up for the two-year lull as the 12th Osian's film festival opened on a grand scale in the capital at Siri Fort on Friday.
Chairman Neville Tuli said that the festival had gone into coma but has now recovered. Festival director Indu Shrikent laid out the underlying theme of the latest edition dedicating it to the freedom of expression, creative thought and environmental awareness. Shrikent paid her tributes to renowned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi and the eminent auteur Mani Kaul. "We share our solidarity with Panahi for what he's braving in Iran and Mani we miss you," said Shrikent.
The Aruna Vasudev Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Samir Farid, a renowned film critic of the Arab world. With a career spread over four decades including over 200 film festival attendances and 60 books, Farid's a well-known name in Arab and Egyptian film criticism. Accepting the award as a "great honour from a great country", Farid maintained his love for cinema and art finds expression in film criticism.
Delving on the current political condition in Egypt, Farid said, "We in Egypt are going through terrible political turmoil where cinema and all kinds of art face threat from religious fanatics. But I intend to fight back like many others of my country as we believe that religion is an individual thing and it should be separate from art and culture."
There was a befitting tribute to Rajesh Khanna, the first superstar of Hindi cinema, with a short film on his journey in filmdom. The actor, who died on July 18 following a prolonged illness was celebrated through his best scenes, dialogues and songs in films like Amar Prem, Aradhana, Anand, Safar etc. The montage ended with a quote from Khanna's Anand, 'Anand mara nahi, Anand marte nahi'.
A new segment of films on environmental awareness is a special highlight of this year's Osian. To lend credence to the effort, activist and noted environmentalist Medha Patkar voiced her concerns urging more participation to highlight the dangers and threats to the environment. "The world is changing. The world is being destroyed. To filmmakers and producers, I'd say that cinema is a powerful tool, a non-violent weapon to take on the battles of this world. We should use it."
Unlike previous years, the festival this year will be using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to connect with people and expand its reach. "There are a few new mechanisms that we have adopted: Facebook and Twitter. Earlier I thought that these mediums were just for young people, but now I realise how mistaken I was. It's a whole new world and a wonderful way to reach out," said Tuli.
The opening day also saw the inauguration of an exhibition from the Osianama archives, honouring the divas of Indian Cinema, marking the year-long celebrations for the 100 years of Indian cinema.
Amidst posters of Hunterwali Ki Beti (1943), Mahal (1949), Aradhana (1969), Raja Jaani (1972), also on display were film memorabilia to be auctioned in coming days - like a shawl from Shammi Kapoor or the bat from film Lagaan signed by Aamir Khan and rest of the cast of the film.
A total number of 175 films, including 61 shorts, from 38 countries are being shown at the festival organised in collaboration with the government of NCT, Delhi. That includes 15 world premieres. Entry is free. The 10-day festival concludes on August 5.
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