Friday, 2 February 2018


- Manoj Kulkarni

Filmmakers (Kannada) Girish Kasaravalli & (Marathi) Sumitra Bhave!
After a long gap '8th Asian Film Festival' took place (at NFAI & FTII) in Pune with the co-operation of 'Asian Film Foundation', Mumbai. Considering current Asian Cinema they screened films from last decade biopic to contemporary! But few films from subcontinent countries and our Marathi cinema section were not up to that standard!
Ananya Kasaravalli's Kannada film 'Harikatha Prasanga' (2015).

Festival started with honouring renowned Kannada filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli with it's 'Zenith Asia Award' and they screened his three films including early masterpiece 'Ghatashradha' (1977). Apart from this there was a special screening of his daughter Ananya Kasaravalli's film 'Harikatha Prasanga' (2015) which narrates the story of a Yakshagana artist..his struggle in living life real & female character he play! Sensible direction, good camera work and intense performance of protagonist made this film impactful!

Vietnamese film 'The Prophet' (2015) a biopic of Ho Chi Minh!

There was country focus on Cinema of Vietnam with six films in this festival..In this main film 'The Prophet' (2015) was a biopic of Ho Chi Minh..first president of that country who led the people of Vietnam to struggle for independence from French colonialists! Vuong Duc directed this film briefly focused on Minh's life during freedom struggle! Then in New Iranian Cinema there was 'Bleeding Heart' (2008)  Mohammadreza Rahmani directed this was a court drama which deals with killer's psyche effectively!

'Bleeding Heart' (2008)..New Iranian Cinema!
In it's Spectrum Asia section there was notable contemporary Chinese film 'Li Mi Conjecture' (2014) depicted the passionate love of working girl..her search for it and compromise! Cao Baoping directed in this film beautiful Xuan Zaou played this female protagonist superbly! Then there was satiric kind of Bangladeshi film 'Killing Beauty' (2017)..newly married couple's struggle to live their independent life showed in it..especially their stand in water crisis. Animesh Aich directed in this film pretty gorgeous Ashna Habib & Parambrata Chatterjee played their roles nicely! In this section there was meta film from Sri Lanka..Jaishikha Padamasiri directed 'Talking With The Wind' (2005) which was about a filmmaker who gets lost inside her film! It's cinematic work recollected masters Truffaut of French New Wave & our Mani Kaul; But only in style of filming, not it's unconventional screenplay & directorial work matched with them!
Beautiful Xuan Zaou in Chinese film 'Li Mi Conjecture' (2014).

Festival took section 'Off-Beat Bollywood' with attraction of two Hindi films of last year 'Newton' & 'Indu Sarkar'! 
I already wrote (with disappointment) about film 'Newton' when it was announced our India's entry for 'Oscar's 'Best Foreign Language Film'! This Amit Masurkar directed movie was adapted from Babak Payami made Iranian film 'Secret Ballot'. Both had same plots of struggle of election officer in collecting votes on remote region..and I found original film 'Secret Ballot' & Nassim Abdi's acting in it better than movie 'Newton' & Rajkumar Rao's acting in it! Second was much discussed 'Indu Sarkar' filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar's cinematic focus on emergency in our India!..But this selective collage of covering events in it seems bias! (Any way it was nice meeting him in this festival!)
Parambrata Chatterjee & Ashna Habib in Bangladeshi 'Killing Beauty' (2017).

There were tributes & homages to Indian filmmakers (South-Indian) K. Viswanath, Balu Mahendra and (Marathi) Madhav Shinde & (satiric Hindi) Kundan Shah! Here also (like 'PIFF) they forgot some tributes..great Marathi actor-director Gajanan Jahagirdar (who's acted 'Ramashastri'/1944 was landmark film made by 'Prabhat Film Co', Pune) on 110th birth anniversary & great Bengali cinematographer (worked for Ritwik Ghatak's neo-realistic film 'Nagorik'/1952) Ramananda Sengupta who died at 101. And recently passed away ('Meghe Dhaka Tara'/1960 fame) Bengali actress Supriya Devi!
Sri Lankan meta film 'Talking With The Wind' (2005).

In festival's My Marathi..there was curiosity of this time's national award winner film 'Kaasav'..Sumitra Bhave & Sunil Sukthankar directed this film depicted the issue of depression among youngsters which need attention with psychiatrist approach!..For this Turtle (Kaasav) used as a metaphor!..Iravati Harshe, Devika Daftardar & Aalok Rajwade naturally performed their roles in it! In this section Sagar Chhaya Vanjari's film 'Redu' not appealed because of it's outdated concept..In Internet world period story (even for emotions) centred on Radio was not acceptable!
Alok Rajwade & Iravati Harshe in Marathi film 'Kaasav' (2017).

Veteran Marathi actor Dilip Prabhavalkar got Lifetime Achievement Award in it! He acted recent Marathi film 'Pimpal' also screened in this festival! Overall selection of films were with mixed standards in contents & quality in it. Hope next time this festival will come (in proper & fixed schedule) with comprehensive picture of entire Asian Cinema!!

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

No comments:

Post a Comment