Archive for the ‘film’ Category


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:


(Photo by Aditya Varma. You’ll want to keep an eye on this talented fella.)

After touring film festivals the world over, Nandita Das’ eponymous film on Saadat Hasan Manto releases in theatres today. While we are excited to watch it, and hear from others about how they like it, here’s something from someone who has worked on the film.

Anubhav Dasgupta had posted this on his Facebook page initially, and we thought it’d be a fit here at MFC. Anubhav has worked on Manto’s post-production.

Over to Anubhav:

In the summer of 2017, I was doing nothing. I’d practically severed ties with everyone I knew and I wasn’t close enough with my Whistling Woods friends to really hang out with them. Consumed by ennui and the buzzing background noise of clinical depression, I barely acted or reacted to anything that was happening around me. The fact that I had topped my batch earlier in the year did nothing to stir my spirits. I was just pretty fucking down, man, and I recognised that as a problem. I got an email about a senior student asking for an additional editor and one of my professors had recommended me, impressed as he was by my work throughout the first quarter of the editing course. Having little else to do, I jumped on it.

Shashwat Gandhi and Yugshrestha Karpatne had adapted Saadat Hasan Manto’s sweet and quietly devastating tale of child prostitution, Dus Rupay, as Five Hundred Rupees for their final year diploma film. Their original editor had begun working with Subhash Ghai but their lovely film remained unfinished so I stepped in to help them complete it. I didn’t think much of Manto back then. I was exposed to his work by a few adaptations fellow colleagues had done and I was quite turned off by the use of schlock and horror. Male perspectives presented his stories as nothing but lust and violence and relied less on the depth and empathy Manto brought to his characters than the violent twists and lurid storytelling. Having avoided Manto because of these misrepresentations, Manto’s stories remained unread. I thought that Five Hundred Rupees would be the end of my sojourn with Manto but I was wrong. I don’t know what forces were in play, but Manto found his way into my life once again.

The work I did on Five Hundred Rupees would lead me to a chance meeting and that chance meeting would lead to a WhatsApp message asking whether I would like to assist on a feature film. It was being directed by a reputed woman filmmaker and starred one of my favourite actors, so I replied, “Yeah sure, why not?” and didn’t hear back from them.

A few weeks later, I was at a crosswords store, browsing their Indian fiction section, shifting aside the usual Durjoy Dutta and Chetan Bhagat schlock to find a copy of Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy. I took it in my hands, leafed through it and balked at the price point. As I carefully slid it back into its spot, I noticed a book with an orange cover right next to it. I pulled it out, Bitter Fruit — A Collection of Short Stories by Saadat Hasan Manto, and just looked at it for a bit. At that same instant, my phone rang and someone asked me if I could make it to Bandra in a few hours. School was out, so I answered in the affirmative. Then I had lunch and set off to Bandra on a Sunday. And that’s how my Manto journey began.

I joined in as an edit intern, late in the film’s post-production stage. It was pretty much complete but Nandita Das wanted to cut it down a little more and needed someone who could carry out the necessary exports as the film neared completion. Manto had a small in-house team — initially just me and her assistant Riya — and I found myself taking up more responsibility than I’d anticipated. And through the film Manto, Manto the man and the writer was revealed to me. The film peeled away the layers of grime and violence and revealed the true core of Manto’s stories: empathy, even for the cruellest and the worst, and a terrible sadness at the things that men do. His works and writings became a prism through which I processed my own feelings about the state of the world, the division and the cruelty that men have succumbed to, the blatant permission to commit cruelty that the current rulers seem to have signed off on. The film, too, is in part Nandita’s response to our times. I’ve seen it nearly a hundred times now as a result of my work and each viewing reveals a new detail, a new perspective, evident of the fact that the film was made with a lot of love and passion. Some days I’m moved by it, some days I’m ambivalent. I’ve been moved to tears by it just the one time, but maybe the first time will do it for you. It’s a good film with great scenes, two of which remain my favourite scenes from any film this year.

In some way, because of the coincidences, and especially of Manto leading me to Manto, I believe I was meant to work on this, for my own selfish self-improvement if nothing else. I’ve come in contact with some of the most talented and eminent people in the course of this journey, Sneha Khanwalker, Avani Rai, Tahir Bhasin, Resul Pookutty, Nawazuddin, Rasika Dugal, Kartik Vijay, Manto’s daughters Nuzhat and Nusrat, Nasreen Munni Kabir, Ashok Kumar’s daughter Bharti, Cameron Bailey, just to name a few. This has been one of the more fulfilling experiences of my life so far and I think I’m not the only person who has been changed by working on Manto. It was a special experience for everyone involved.

In becoming an inextricable part of my life Saadat Hasan Manto has achieved his ultimate revenge on me, someone who was militantly ignorant of his works, who went out of his way to avoid Manto. I cannot escape him now, and I’m glad to join the ranks as a Manto fan.

All I’ll say is, I’m proud to have worked on this film, to have worked on a film that I quite like, featuring some of my favourite actors, Neeraj Kabi, Rajshree Deshpande, Nawazuddin, and more, and a film that couldn’t be any more relevant, when the people in power have decided that they do not like what we say and want to rule through paranoia and phantom enemies. Please watch it tomorrow, I can’t assure you that you’ll like it, but I’m sure you will feel the passion and love that has gone into every frame of the film. I would like to thank everyone who was instrumental in making this happen, the people I know, the people I don’t and the people who I have come to know through this film.

Here’s to many more.

Please watch Manto. Out in theaters in this Friday. It’s been made with a lot of love, reverence and passion.

Anubhav Dasgupta

Filmmaker Rima Das’ National Award winning film Village Rockstars is slated for a Pan-India theatrical release on 28th September, 2018.

The film will be released through VKAAO, a joint venture of PVR Pictures and Bookmyshow in metros cities of India and in more than 30 screens in Assam through Kamakhya Films.

Village Rockstars is the story of Dhunu, a girl who grows up in poverty and learns to fend for herself. However, that does not prevent her from following her dream of forming a rock band and owning a guitar someday. Most of the cast members of the film are non-actors including Rima Das’ niece Bhanita who plays Dhunu and the other kids who hail from Das’ native village in Assam.

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

Rima Das’ debut film as a writer-director-producer, Man with Binoculars (Antardrishti) premiered at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 2016. Village Rockstars, her second feature, premiered at Toronto International Film Festival 2017 under Discovery Section. Bulbul Can Sing made its World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival 2018 and will make its South Asia Premiere at the prestigious 23rd Busan International Film Festival 2018.

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

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.