Friday, 26 January 2018


 - Manoj Kulkarni

'PIFF's Best Film Award' (!) winner Chinese film 'Free and Easy's satire!
'16th Pune International Film Festival' is over with same drawbacks & flaws mainly in contents by it's so called Creatives (!). This time also most of the films (psycho-thrillers & fantasy dramas) in world cinema competition and (mainstream commercial & dramatic) in Marathi cinema competition disappointed! With this global cinema was also not up to the international standard..And homages, (notable) tributes & retrospectives were lacking!
Award losing Marathi film 'Ziprya'!

Since it's beginning I have been attending & observing 'PIFF'..which is becoming monotonous year by year and disappointing by it's contents. Only because of same films selection committee in which seems two persons (creative director & creative head) dominating and choosing what they want! So lack of appropriate contents still there!..At least such so called creatives should know history of our Indian cinema and take note of happenings in world cinema!
Romantic scene from Polish film 'The Art of Loving'!

They forgot the main homages to recently passed away film personalities..Bengali cinematographer Ramananda Sengupta (died at 101) who worked for real pioneer of Indian neo-realistic cinema Ritwk Ghatak's 'Nagorik' (1952) and renowned French filmmaker Jean Renoir's film 'River' (1951). Then Hindi actress Shakeela and Assamese legendary actor Biju Phukan! Like last year they did not pay homage to late French cinematographer Raoul Coutard, this time they forgot French actress Jean Moreau..both were legends of French New Wave! In addition to this they did not take note of late Australian filmmaker Paul Cox!

After cinematographer Raoul Coutard..'PIFF' forgot actress Jean Moreau!

They were also not aware of the important occasions in the history of cinema..First world talkie 'The Jazz Singer' (1927) completed 90 years. 'Warners Bros.' produced (with it's Vitaphone sound-on-disc system) this American musical film was directed by Alan Crosland. That was the first feature-length motion picture with lip-synchronous singing & speech in several sequences! And there was a 101st Birth Anniversary of Hollywood legend Gregory Peck! They took the retrospective of renowned Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman on the occasion of his Birth Centenary..but without his masterpieces 'Summer Interlude' (1951), 'Wild Strawberries' (1957) & 'The Virgin Spring' (1960).
Incomplete retrospective of Swedish master..Ingmar Bergman!

Then there was a Death Centenary of Pioneer of Indian continent's cinema..Hiralal Sen! And our first indigenously colour film 'Kisan Kanya' (1937) completed 80 years. (Before this in 1933 'Prabhat's V. Shantaram made film 'Sairandhri' in colour but was processed & printed in Germany.) 'Kisan Kanya' was a Hindi Cinecolour feature film produced by 'Imperial Pictures' Ardeshir Irani & directed by Moti B. Gidwani! Apart from this there was a 110th Birth Anniversary of our legendary actor-director Gajanan Jahagirdar and 101st Birth Anniversary of beautiful actress of early golden era Naseem Banu! And landmark film 'Mother India' (1957) completed 60 years. In Mehboob Khan's this film Nargis portraited her character greatly and this was our India's first entry for 'Oscar's Best Foreign Language Film!

Youth..Theme of '16th PIFF'..with lack of youth subjects!
Theme of this '16th PIFF' was Youth..and they missed the main subjects attract to young generation! First is 'teenage love'..and that is superbly came on screen in the popular film adaptation of Shakespeare's romantic play 'Romeo and Juliet'..which made by renowned filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli and pretty gorgeous Olivia Hussey portraited Juliet with handsome Leonard Whiting as Romeo in it! This film made in 1968 and completed 50 years now! Same thing about two actresses of 'Sound of Music' (1965)..Charmian Carr & Heather Menzies who no more..And most famous teenage love song of this film "I am sixteen going on seventeen.." was picturized on Charmian Carr & Daniel Truhitte! So both the films were expected in this festival! In addition to this James Bond fame Roger Moore also passed away but they did not take note!

Balasubrahmanyan, R.Prasad, Sippy, minister Mungantiwar & Kapoor brothers!
This time there was special section of 'Raj Kapoor Retrospective' as an empathy & tribute to 'R.K. Studio' because of it's recent loss to fire. (I already wrote an article on 'RK Films' that time here.) So three artists sons of RK..Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor & Rajeev Kapoor were present in festival for this occasion! But for romantic legend (and quality filmmaker) Shashi Kapoor who passed away recently..there was only one film of he acted 'New Delhi Times' as a tribute to him!..And to tribute actor Vinod Khanna they screened 'Mera Gaon Mera Desh'..not his notable 'Imtihan'!

In the opening ceremony 'Sholay' fame bollywood's popular filmmaker Ramesh Sippy and 'Prasad Studio's head Ramesh Prasad honoured with 'PIFF Distinguished Award'..And famous South Indian singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam with the 'S. D. Burman Award'! We were expecting beautiful actress of golden era..Mala Sinha who is 81 be felicitate! If that happen her admirers will happy..not only from our India but also from (her origin) Nepal!
Filipino actress Mercedes Cabral & Danish actor Mikkel Boe in film 'Rosita'!

Festival opened with Bosnian film 'Man Don't Cry'. Alen Drljevic directed this was like a docudrama in which former combatants recollects memories of Yugoslav wars! Then there were films like Netherlands's 'The Longing' a satire on battle for recognition through other author's book and Czech 'The Quartette' focusing band people world cinema competition. In Kaleidoscope there were so so films like 9th century martial arts story base Taiwanese 'The Assassin' and father-son's same (Asian) female interest showing Danish 'Rosita'!
Pretty Mila Mihova in Bulgarian film 'Three Quarter'!

In Global Cinema section disappointed some films like Philippe Bober directed Swedish 'The Square'. But there were few (early east European) films with sensible treatment like..Calin Peter Netzer directed Romanian 'Ana, Mon Amour' which focused on rise & fall of the tumultuous & passionate romance of couple..And Bulgarian 'Three Quarter' a portrait of family with music loving girl's ambition. Pretty Mila Mihova acted nicely in it! Then Maria Sadowska directed Polish film 'The Art of Loving' handled the biopic of Michalina Wislocka who achieved the impossible task of writing book on revolutionise sexual life of people! And Ildiko Enyedi directed Hungarian film 'On Body and Soul' was the story of middle age man & young woman who find love in dreams and try to fulfil in reality!

Abir Chatterjee & Bangladeshi actress Joya Ahsan in Bengali film 'Bisorjan'!
In Indian cinema section there were two films notable. One was Bengali 'Bisorjan' a love story between Bangladeshi widow and Indian businessman which naturally portrayed by Bangladeshi beautiful actress Joya Ahsan with Indian actor Abir Chatterjee. Film was writtten-directed by Kaushik Ganguly who also played negative role in it! Then there was Harikumar directed sensitive Malayalam film 'Clint' based on the real life story of little boy Edmund Thomas Clint who left the world at the age of seven leaving behind around 25 thousand drawings & paintings. This role sensibly portraited by Master Alok. Actually I saw the documentary made on this earlier!
Rima Kallingal, Unni Mukundan & Master Alok in film 'Clint'!

This '16th PIFF's 'Prabhat Best International Film Award' went to Chinese film 'Free and Easy' produced by Wang Xuebo, Wang Zijian & Wu Leilei! Handling the demoralised society in satiric way this film is directed by Jun Geng! Then it's 'Best Film Director Award' won by Lucrecia Martel for Argentinean film 'Zama' which is a historical fiction based on the novel by Antonio Di Benedetto!

With these 'Special Jury Award' gained by Serbian film 'Rekvijemzagospodu J.' ('Requiem for Mrs. J'). In this director Bojan Vuletica sensibly handled the family problems in a country which is going through social transition! Artists Mirjana Karanovic, Danica Nedeljkovic, Vucic Perovic & pretty Jovana Gavrilovic played their characters naturally in it. In competition this film was comparatively better!.But audience award winner Finnish film 'Euthanizer' was just horrible as they mentioned 'violent noir'..Is that a taste which festival want to develope?
Serbian film 'Rekvijemzagospodu J.' ('Requiem for Mrs. J').

In this 'Sant Tukaram Best International Marathi Film' award won by Supriya Sunil Phadtare produced movie 'Pimpal'. 'Akhil Bharatiy Marathi Chitrapat Mahamandal's Best Marathi Screenplay & Director awards also went to it's maker Gajendra Ahire! Interaction between old culture & new global (Internet) world is a main theme of this film in which Dilip Prabhavalkar did grandfather's character emotionally with Priya Bapat! Then film 'Mhorkya' won three awards including by audience! In this section Kedar Vaidya directed (based on Arun Sadhu's story) 'Ziprya' was also notable. Chinmay Kambali played this role and Amruta Subhash acted naturally in it!

Dilip Prabhavalkar in Gajendra Ahire's Marathi film 'Pimpal'!
There were less venues for '16th PIFF' this time..and audience faced projection problems & some time films without subtitles! While entering & find seats in auditoriums there.. person incharge of volunteers always talks rudely & insults media persons also! Observed that he motivate students or young crowd in auditorium to shout in joy when creative director comes for the felicitation on stage!.Such politics also happens every year there in it's closing ceremony which is harmful for the culture & growth of film festival!

Veteran Marathi filmmaker Rajdutt honoured in closing ceremony!
'PIFF' trying to increase it's activities like Open Forum on big ground (now centred at fixed multiplex) and expanding in other cities but still there are many areas to improve..especially in contents & quality of films! Even Catalogue not came out properly and what branding? 'PIFF' officials (with proper knowledge of cinema) seriously think about the comprehensive development..not quantitative but qualitative and without the monopoly of so called creatives!

Regards for the future of 'PIFF'!!

- Manoj Kulkarni
['Chitrasrushti', Pune, India]

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