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The hype, the excitement, the wait ends today.
Sriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun releases. And everyone is eager to watch it to know the answers to the questions the trailer raised.

Meanwhile, why not give a viewing to the short that is supposed to have given Sriram Raghavan the core idea of the movie?

Here’s French short The Piano Tuner, by Olivier Treiner.


While we all wait for Rima Das’ Village Rockstars’ theatrical release, there is more good news for the film and its fans.

Village Rockstars has been selected as India’s official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars.

The 12-member selection committee of the Film Federation of India, led by Kannada producer-director Rajendra Babu, announced the decision after watching 28 entries, which included Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi, R Balki’s Padman, Shoojit Sircar’s October, Dipesh Jain’s Gali Guleiyan, Nila Madhab Panda’s Halka, Siddharth Malhotra’s Hichki, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, Tabrez Noorani’s Love Sonia, Ashwin Nag’s Savitri biopic Mahanati, Ravi Jadhav’s Nude, Chezhiyan’s To-let, Rahi Barve’s Tumbbad, Sukumar’s Rangasthalam, Rahul Bhole and Vinit Kanojia’s Reva and Deb Medhekar’s Kabuliwala adaptation Bioscopewala.

The director-cinematographer-editor-producer Rima Das says, “I have been waiting for this day and praying! Luckily, I got this news in my village at Chhayagaon, Assam (I arrived last night) I am glad that I am with my family and the cast of the film. Otherwise, a news like this, if you are alone in some far off land, could put you off the balance! Although I have been jumping around uncontrollably and creating all sorts of a nuisance. I still can’t believe that our film is India’s Oscar entry. I am pinching myself, screaming shouting with joy.”

She adds, “We are totally overwhelmed by the announcement that Village Rockstars is India’s official entry to Oscar this year. I am so grateful to the selection committee for believing in our film.”

The film which had its World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival and India Premiere at Mumbai Film Festival 2018 has screened in more than 70 prestigious international and national film festivals and won 44 awards including 4 National Awards (Best Feature, Best Editing, Audiography and Child Artist).

It was an official selection at Film Bazaar Recommends (at NFDC Film Bazaar 2016), 2017 Marche du Film (Cannes) Work-In-Progress, San Sebastian International Film Festival 2017.

Until now only three Indian films have made it till the last round and were, as a result, nominated in the foreign language film category at the Oscars – Mehboob Khan’s Mother India (1957), Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay! (1988), and Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan (2001).

The 91st Academy Awards is scheduled to be held on February 24, 2019.

Here’s Rima Das sharing her joy on Twitter:

(click on any pic to start the slide show)

Vasan Bala’s Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (The Man Who Feels No Pain) became not only the first Indian film to be featured in Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness, but also the first Indian film to get the Grolsch People’s Choice Award in the same segment.

Here’s Vasan’s acceptance speech at TIFF…

 

And this is how the film was introduced by the Midnight Madness curator Peter Kuplowsky. So much fun!

Here’s all the early reviews from TIFF:

Writer-director Vasan Bala’s wild and wacky yet also warm and fuzzy fable about a resourceful young man who transcends ostensible physical limitations to become a two-fisted, swift-kicking hero likely will prove to be an irresistible crowd-pleaser on the global fest circuit, and in international release on various platforms.

Review on Variety by Joe Leydon

But those getting superhero fatigue should not worry, for along came an Indian superhero origin story inspired by every action movie on the planet that’s so funny and meta, Deadpool is crying of jealousy. This is The Man Who Feels No Pain.

Review at Bloody Disgusting by Rafael Motamayor

Through the tongue-in-cheek humor and mind-blowing action, the makers of the film manage to capture the crowd-pleasing essence of a masala film, without any of the problematic aspects of the genre. In a time where every Bollywood movie is eager to teach and preach, ‘Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota’ takes you back to the time 7-year-old you broke your leg trying to leap into a flying kick. But instead of yelling at you for being an idiot, Vasan Bala gives you a mat to cushion your next fall and a bottle of water to keep you hydrated.

Review at BizAsia by Sahar Junejo

His film, whose title toys with Amitabh Bachchan’s 1985 Mard, summons many adorable tropes of Bollywood and superhero films — bachpan ke dost, dadaji as teacher-mentor, mother’s murder and a haunting chain, limping and one-legged martial arts masters, evil villains — but each one has its own dancing, subversive curlicue that twists and twirls the cliches, making them funny, cool, with oodles of street cred.

Review by Suparna Sharma

– Review at NowToronto by Norman Wilner

When master of the modern Hindi noir, Sriram Raghavan, announced his next project ‘Andhadhun’, there was a lot of discussion around the name, what it meant, and how it was supposed to be spelt. And of course, what the movie would be about.

The trailer and new poster for the film was released today (film’s new release date is now 5th October), and it shows that it is the love story of a blind pianist, who meets a terrific girl and then another woman, and then many things happen to him. Among his inspirations for the film Raghavan counts Fargo, both the film and the series.

The premise is interesting enough, and the trailer makes it even more so. The IMDB synopsis on the film reads: “He sees what he shouldn’t. She sees what he couldn’t. So the question is, does he see it or not?”

The trailer also revealed that the film stars famous 70s actor Anil Dhawan, which is causing much excitement amongst fans.

Here’s the trailer of the film:

Starring: Radhika Apte, Ayushmann Khurana, Tabu, and Anil Dhawan
Producer: Matchbox Pictures, Viacom18 Motion Pictures
Writer & Director: Sriram Raghavan
Editor: Pooja Ladha Surti
Co-writer: Arijit Biswas
Music: Amit Trivedi
Lyrics: Jaideep Sahni
Release: 5th October 2018

Here is Sriram’s interview regarding the film on Scroll.

The 2nd edition of Singapore South Asian International Film Festival 2018 (Sg.SAIFF) will open with actor-director Nandita Das’ Manto which stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the titular role as Sadat Hassan Manto and follows the most tumultuous years and times in the life of the famed writer and of the two countries he inhabits — India and Pakistan.

The 2nd edition of the festival held from 5th to 14th October 2018 in Singapore will commence with an opening ceremony on 5th October at Carnival Cinema and close on 13th October at Resorts World Sentosa will also include the awards ceremony.

The film was chosen for the prestigious Un Certain Regard section at Cannes 2018 and features an impressive ensemble of actors including Rasika Duggal, Rajshri Deshpande, Rishi Kapoor and Paresh Rawal. The screening at SGSAIFF 2018 marks the film’s South East Asian premiere and will be attended by Nandita Das.

Das who will be presenting the film at the festival says, “We are delighted to screen Manto as the opening film at SGSAIFF. Manto was very much a South Asian writer. But unlike the Europeans, we South Asians do not own this identity, despite many cultural and social similarities amongst the countries in the region. Therefore, it is important to support such festivals that celebrate cinema from the Subcontinent. Last year, SGSAIFF screened a film I acted in, Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai as the opening film, which is yet to be released. I was unfortunately unable to make it. So, I very much look forward to attending it this year.”

Abhayanand Singh, Chairperson of SGSAIFF, whose association with Nandita Das started with Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai, the film co-produced by his production company, Muvizz says, “It’s a great honour to open the 2nd edition of SGSAIFF with one of the most important Indian films of this year, MANTO. We are happy that Nandita Das accepted our invitation to come and present the film at the festival.”

The SGSAIFF 2018 lineup which will be announced shortly includes an interesting mix of features, documentaries and shorts which includes titles from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan.

About The South Asian Singapore Film Festival

Singapore South Asian International Film Festival (Sg.SAIFF) is devoted to a greater appreciation of South Asian cinema and culture. The festival seeks to support emerging filmmakers, open a fertile space for dialogue and collaborations within the industry, and most significantly share with the audience of Singapore the diverse and complex experiences of South Asia through the intimate storytelling medium of cinema.

With the impetus to effectively channel the expansion of South Asian cinema beyond the subcontinent and engage with a wider spectrum of audience. Singapore with its sizable population of South Asian descent, is a natural choice for this purpose. Supported by the Singapore Indian High Commission(IHC), the festival is a landmark initiative to serve as a cultural gateway between the global city of Singapore and the developing nations of South Asia.

Singapore, being the gateway of Asia, only enhances the potential of the festival to emerge as the melting pot of diverse cultures using cinema as a medium.

Aanand L. Rai, Sohum Shah, and Anand Gandhi’s much awaited mythological thriller about a goddess who created the entire universe, Tumbbad opened the Venice Film Festival’s Critics’ Week and is generating a lot of buzz at Venice Film Festival.

So here’s all the buzz around the film at the fest.

– Baradwaj Rangan’s review on Film Companion here

– Hollywood Reporter’s review here

– Screen Daily’s review here

– Sohum Shah’s interview in Variety here

– Sohum Shah on the film in Quint here

– Jared Mobarak’s review on The Film Stage here

– Deloret Imnidia’s review on High on Films here

– Tommaso Tocci’s review on Ion Cinema here

– Bénédicte Prot’s review on on Cineuropa here

Shefali Shah and Neeraj Kabi’s upcoming Indo-German feature love story, Once Again which is slated to release soon.

Witten and Directed by Kanwal Sethi, Once Again is an unusual and mature love story of Tara, a widowed mother who runs a small restaurant and one of her customers, a popular film actor Amar, who she delivers his daily meals. Tara has never seen him – except on the big screen.

Apart from the lead stars, Shefali Shah and Neeraj Kabi, the film features a stellar cast including Rasika Dugal, Bhagwan Tiwari, Bidita Bag and Priyanshu Painyuli.

The music composer, Talvin Singh, who has been at the helm of fusion music, and has played with the likes of Madonna creates an enchanting and melodious soundtrack.

Actor Neeraj Kabi, who was last seen in Netflix show Sacred Games as DCP Parulkar has done diverse roles in films such as Talvar, Byomkesh Bakshi, Ship Of Theseus, Hichki. Excited about playing a romantic hero on celluloid for the first time, Neeraj says, “I have always wanted to perform a love story on celluloid. I am so happy I finally did.”

The Indo-German film is produced by Crawling Angel Films, Jar Pictures, Neufilm in collaboration with ZDF/ARTE and is presented by Sanjay Gulati and Neeraj Pandey. ZDF/ARTE are the powerful channels behind films like Lunchbox, Masaan and Qissa.

The film won Facebook Award for the best Work-in-Progress Lab project at the Film Bazaar in Goa.

About the film:
Tara is a widowed mother who runs a small restaurant. One of her customers is popular film actor Amar, she delivers his daily meals. Tara has never seen him – except on the big screen. A chance phone conversation becomes a ritual. They spend hours on the phone, unable to muster the courage to meet. Aware of the reality of an impossible relationship and afraid to transcend the boundaries both have drawn around themselves they live within their safe bubbles. Until one day, when Amar sets out to meet Tara… What follows is a poetic journey of the two lonely hearts in Mumbai, a city of 15 million souls.

About the director:
Kanwal Sethi was born in Amritsar, India. After finishing school, he founded a theatre group and began to stage at various independent theatres. He shifted to Germany and studied Political science and Economics in Dresden. Followed by his own stage productions and parallel to this he started work on his own film projects. His short films and documentaries were screened at various international film festivals as well as the Museum of Modern Art New York. JUNCTION POINT was his debut feature film and premiered at Max ÖphulsPreis and MAMI.

About the Producers:
Neufilm
Since we successfully started producing films 10 years ago, we are constantly confronted with the phenomenon of a separation of art and commerce. Arthouse and mainstream seem to be often incompatible in the industry. The aim of Neufilm is to connect these two poles and make the author film accessible to a broader audience.

Crawling Angel Films
Crawling Angel Films is a film production company based in India that aims to tell the world unique stories through films, which have the quality to capture human emotions through their strong narratives. The dedicated team of Crawling Angel Films is all set out to dissolve the boundaries between the various nations of the globe by getting them well versed with one universal language – the language of Cinema. They have produced award-winning films such as, LAJWANTI (Berlin International Film Festival 2014), ASHWATTHAMA (Busan International Film Festival 2017), MEHSAMPUR and THE SHEPHERDESS AND THE SEVEN SONGS (co-production lab in Film Bazaar and Hong Kong International Film Festival) is currently under the process of shooting.