Film India Worldwide section at this year 15th Mumbai Film Festival
Year after year, Film India Worldwide (FIW) at the Mumbai Film Festival has showcased films that are international in character but linked to a recognizable Indian idiom. This year, FIW presents six select films from countries spread far and wide – UK, Nepal, France, Canada, Pakistan and Spain. Some among them have already been lauded at film festivals. Others make an assured entry as premieres. Together they embrace the gamut of what India denotes to creative cinematic minds on the world scene.
These films are by filmmakers originating from India and now living elsewhere, whose heart and art echo back to their homeland. Or they are by international filmmakers who come to India’s locations to reflect its reality with new eyes.
Screenings are at Liberty Cinema and Metro Big Cinema, Marine Lines, as well as at Cinemax, Versova.
Film India Worldwide 2013
Amit Kumar’s Jadoo
Eelum Dixit’s Pailahuru
León Siminiani’s MAPA
Pan Nalin’s Faith Connections
Sabiha Sumar’s Good Morning Karachi
Richie Mehta’s Siddharth
Attending Actor Harish Patel (Mumbai); actor Amara Karan (UK)
Jadoo, a British film set in Leicester, had a world premiere screening in the side-bar Culinary Films section at 2013 Berlinale. Amit Kumar has written/directed the film (his debut film Resistance garnered him the Writers Guild’s Best First Film Award nomination). Jadoo tells the story of two brothers, Raja and Jagi, both wonderful chefs, who fall out and tear the fabled family recipe book in half. One brother gets the starters and the other gets the main courses. Setting up rival restaurants on opposite sides of the road, they spend the next ten years trying to outdo each other. Each one can cook only half of the perfect Indian meal, which drives them mad. The daughter of one of the bothers, a successful London lawyer, is getting married. She goes to Leicester to try and reconcile her father and uncle so that they are one family again, and besides, their combined talent can come together to serve the perfect Indian feast at her wedding, food here a metaphor for family. The DOP is Roger Pratt (Inkheart,The Karate Kid), and the music score is by Stephen Warbeck (Shakespeare in Love, Billy Elliot). The film stars Amara Karan (The Darjeeling Limited), Harish Patel (Run Fatboy Run), Kulvinder Ghir (Bend It Like Beckham), and Tom Mison (One Day, Parades End), with celebrity chef/actress, Madhur Jaffrey. Jadoo is produced by Richard Holmes, Amanda Faber (Resistance) Isabelle Georgeaux (Resistance) and Nikki Parrott (The Market: a Tale of Trade).
Festivals & Awards
64th Berlin International Film Festival, February 6 to 16, 2013 – Culinary Cinema section
61st San Sebastian International Film Festival, September 20 to 28, Culinary Zinema
3rd Indian Film Festival at the Hague, October 2 to 6, 20113
Festival of British Cinema, Dinard: 2-6 October 2013
Attending Director Eelum Dixit
Set in the complex caste system of Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley, this classic love triangle story is a reflection on female empowerment and the hard choices required to bring about change. As the Valley awaits the rains, the citizens of the inner city of Patan seek deliverance through affection, empathy and subterfuge. Against the traditional backdrop of the Machhendranath chariot festival, a drama plays out in its by-lanes and courtyards. Karuna has eloped from her tyrannically traditional father to live in much humbler circumstances with Krishna. Her more liberated neighbour taunts Karuna as she suffers neglect, advising Karuna to seek her own gratifications. Krishna, fighting his own demons, finds solace in the company of a well-to-do young widow he had rescued one eventful evening. Karuna’s attempts to reconcile with her family is harshly denied, with only her brutally hemmed-in brother as a stoic ally. We see the wood-and-brick society emerging from tradition’s stranglehold as the characters try to fend for themselves in the absence of elders, amidst a failing economy and political chaos. The air is pregnant with hope for respite, but the rains do not arrive in Red Monsoon. This first film from Blue Bug Productions is produced by Ajaya Upadhyaya, Ruth Moe and Douglas MacHugh. Its DOP is Brian Emery, the location sound/sound design by Binayak Aryal. The cast includes Sandip Chhetri, Shristi Ghimire and Himali Dixit. It is written and directed by Eelum Dixit, who has been active in Nepali theatre with productions such as West Side Story, Othelloand Vagina Monologues, and more recently, Nepali language productions, The Glass Menagerie and A View from the Bridge.
In this engagingly intriguing film, Spanish director León Siminiani allows the viewer to peak into his troubled existence and subsequent escapism. On losing his TV job and his girlfriend, Siminiani heads for India, initially aiming to recce his new feature film. Instead, he soon finds that he is shooting a documentary that is mapping his mind. From Delhi to Calcutta with stops in between, his bemused voice-over conveys what he sees and feels, connecting his past to the present. Seeing a photograph of Pasolini and Italian novelist Alberto Moravia and his wife Elsa Morante while on their Indian travels, Siminiani feels he needs a female companion and looks awkwardly for one. Overwhelmed by a frenzied country whose poverty hits him, he returns to find his own country in financial turmoil. He meets with a car accident and that seemingly shakes him into a better perspective of what he wants out of life. His self-absorption leads him to ask, “Who am I to make social films?” and he tries to replace the girl he lost with a new one. This 85-minute internalized travelogue uses the director’s Indian experiences to look into the intertwined concerns of filmmaking and love. Matthew Sweet’s pop song, “When you look in the mirror” is one of its many underlying refrains. Siminiani majored in Spanish Literature and Film Direction at Columbia University, New York. His notable fiction films include Dos más (2001), Archipiélago (2003) and Ludoterapia (2007). His notable non-fiction films include the mini-documentary series, Key Concepts from a Modern World, the first four winning over 100 international awards. Produced by Avalon P C, Pantalla Partida and himself, MAPA is his first feature film where he continues his artful interplay between fiction and non-fiction. The film is distributed by Sin Fin Cinema.
Festivals & Awards
International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, November 21 to December 1, 2012
3rd London Indian Film Festival, July 20 to 24, 2013.
34th Festival of 3 Continents, Nantes 2012
ALCINE, November 10 to 16, 2012 “New Filmmakers” Section
BAFICI 2013 Section Panorama
Göteborg Int Film Festival, November 15 to 25, 2012 Section “Visionaries”
Mar del Plata international Film Festival November 5 to 13, 2012 section Panorama-Altered States-
17th Cinespaña Toulouse September 27 to October 6, 2013
61st Donostia / San Sebastian Film Festival, 20-28th September 2013 – “Made in Spain” section
31stInternational Film Festival of Uruguay, 23rdMarch to April 6, 2013, Best Feature Film “New Filmmakers” Documentary and Mention FIPRESCI Award
Sevilla European Film Festival, 2013 November 2 to 106, 2012 – – Best European Documentary (shared)
Tarragona International Film Fest 2012, Best First Feature Film
13th Rome Independent Film Festival, April 4th to 10th. 2012 Best International Documentary.
IBAFF Festival March 4 to 9, 2013 – Audience Award
27th Goya Awards, Madrid, February 17, 2013 – Nominated for Best Documentary Feature
Attending Director Pan Nalin
The Kumbh Mela, one of the most extraordinary displays of faith on earth is a spectacular journey drawing tens of millions of people. And it takes place once every twelve years. One such year is 2013.This Hindu pilgrimage is held over roughly six weeks at the Triveni Sangama. In Hindu tradition, Triveni Sangama is the “confluence” of three rivers. Filmmaker Pan Nalin travels to this 2013 mega event and encounters remarkable men of mind and meditation, some facing an inextricable dilemma, to embrace the world or to renounce it. Faith Connections explores such diverse and deeply moving stories as a young runaway kid, a Sadhu, a mother desperately looking for her lost son, a yogi who is raising an abandoned toddler, and an ascetic who keeps his calm by smoking cannabis. They are all connected by one faith against a spectacular display of devotion. On a script by Pan Nalin, the film has Raphael Berdugo, Gaurav Dhingra and Virginie Lacombe as producers. The cinematography is by Anuj Dhawan Swapnil Sonawane and Pan Nalin, editing by Shreyas Beltangdy and Julie Delord with music by
Cyril Morin. Pan Nalin, born in a remote village in Gujarat, is a self taught filmmaker. He started his career with creating TV series, shorts and documentaries, before he reached the limelight with his debut feature film Samsara, a huge commercial and critical success which won him some thirty plus awards. Nalin’s feature documentary Ayurveda: Art of Being also won many awards and was theatrically released worldwide. Nalin’s epic Valley Of Flowers, filmed in high altitude Himalayas and in Japan, was a major underground hit. Nalin has worked as screenwriter for major international productions. Forecast Picture has him on board to write RACE, on the incredible story of Jesse Owens and Adolf Hitler. He has also been scripting the Paris set spy-thriller Codename: Madeleine for Cité Films and Virginie Films France. He is attached to direct the forthcoming India-New Zealand project, Beyond The Known World for The Reservoir Films NZ and Arsam International France.
Festivals & Awards
38th Toronto International Film Festival, September 5 to 15, 2013, TIFF Docs section
Good Morning Karachi
Pakistan/2013/Urdu, English/DCP/85 mins
Attending Director Sabiha Sumar, Executive Producer Anjali Punjabi
Independent Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar, studied Filmmaking and Political Science at New York’s Sarah Lawrence College and History and Political Thought at Cambridge University. Her debut documentary, Who Will Cast the First Stone earned high critical acclaim, winning the San Francisco International Film Festival’s Golden Gate Award. Her first feature, Khamosh Pani (Silent Waters) won Locarno International Film Festival’s Golden Leopard for Best Film and Bronze Leopard for Best Actress besides 17 International awards thereafter. Good Morning Karachi, her second feature, is a coming-of-age story of a young woman, Rafina. Chance and willfulness propel her rise as a runway and billboard model. As she climbs the social ladder, she is caught between two men with very different visions of Pakistan and the role of women. Arif, a politician, dreams of a better world through political action; Jamal, urbane and ambitious, is convinced the fashion industry can help women and lead Pakistan into the new world. Rafina’s story becomes the story of the people living in Karachi who try to reconcile tradition and modernity. The film captures this contradiction not only through its characters and their turbulent lives but also through the landscape of Karachi, where political extremism and fashion, convention and novelty can and do co-exist. On a script written by Malia Scotch Marmo, Sabiha Sumar and Samhita Arni, the DOP is Claire Pijman; the original score is by Robert Logan; song by Shafqaat Amanat Ali; and editing by Maurice Bedaux, Rob Das and Bart van den Broek. The lead cast comprises Amna Ilyas, Beo Raana Zafar and Yasir Aqueel. The film, slated for theatrical release in Europe in November 2013, is a Vidhi Films production in association with Sarah Radclyffe Productions Limited, ZDF and Blue Elephant Films.
Festivals & Awards
Goteborg Film Festival, Sweden, Jan 2013
Raindance Film Festival London, Sept- Oct 2013
3rd i Film Festival San Francisco, November 2013
Terre de Femme Germany November 2013
Canada-India/2013/Hindi/ HD/ 96 mins
Attending director Richie Mehta, actor Tannishtha Chatterjee
In the crowded backstreets of Delhi, Mahendra fixes zippers to make what little money he can. He lives with his feisty wife Suman, his little daughter and 12-year-old son. Hitting a low, he sends his son to another city to work for a friend’s relative. But they worry when he fails to return home as agreed for the Diwali festival. Their illiteracy does not help. They don’t even have a photograph of their boy. Their anxiety escalates as they seek answers from the friend whose relative their son worked for, from the neighbours and then the police, with no luck. All they glean are unseemly rumours, the strongest being that their son could be a victim of child-trafficking. With little money and no connections, Mahendra travels across India in pursuit, hoping that whatever force arbitrarily took his child will return him unharmed. Richie says, “In 2010, I met a man on the streets of Delhi, who asked me for help in finding a place called Dongri. I asked him what it was. He told me he thought it was where his lost son was. He went on to tell me his story –that he sent his 12-year-old boy away to work, and never saw him again. This film is my attempt to reconcile my extremely layered relationship with this circumstance. It’s a story made up in equal parts by tragedy and optimism. I hope what we’ve done here transmits even a fraction of the confusion, sorrow, helplessness, and ultimately hope, that I felt in meeting this man.” Richie has directed, written and edited the film. With Bob Gundu as DOP, the extended cast is led by Rajesh Tailang and Tannishtha Chatterjee. The music is by Andrew Lockington. The film is produced by Steven N Bray and David Miller of Poor Man’s Productions, both of whom were nominated for the 2009 Genie Award for their work in Richie’s acclaimed debut feature, Amal. Richie Mehta’s first feature film, Amal, has won over 30 international awards, was nominated for six Genie Awards, including Best Picture, Director, and Adapted Screenplay, and was named one of the top ten Canadian films of the decade by Playback Magazine. Mehta recently completed the sci-fi feature film I’ll Follow You Down, starring Haley Joel Osment, Gillian Anderson, Rufus Sewell and Victor Garber, for Resolute Films and eONE films, to be released in 2014.
2013 Venice International Film Festival, section Venice Days
38th Toronto International Film Festival, September 5 to 15, 2013, section Contemporary World Cinema