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IFFI 2015 promises global cinematic gems, with Spain in focus

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New Delhi: The 46th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which begins in Goa later this month, will have Spain as its focus country.

The event’s opening ceremony will have popular Bollywood actor-producer Anil Kapoor who has made inroads into Hollywood, as the chief guest.

The 10-day IFFI begins on November 20.

“The Kingdom of Spain is the focus country of IFFI 2015. This will provide an opportunity to screen Spanish films. The films of master Spanish filmmakers Carlos Saura and Pedro Almadovar along with contemporary filmmakers like Alejandro Amenabar will be screened at the festival. The section will also feature Spanish actress Leticia Dolera’s directorial debut ‘Requirements to Be a Normal Person’,” Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley said during the curtain raiser press conference here on Tuesday.

Matthew Brown’s 118 minute-long movie “The Man Who Knew Infinity”, starring British actor with Indian roots Dev Patel, will be the opening film of IFFI 2015.

“It is a true story of friendship between Ramanujan (Indian mathematics genius) and Professor G.H. Hardy,” Jaitley said while describing the movie, and added that “Mr.India” star Anil Kapoor will be the chief guest at the opening ceremony.

The film festival will showcase 187 films from 89 countries in World Cinema section along with 26 Feature and 21 Non-Feature films in Indian Panorama section.

“The International Competition will have 15 films, including two films from Indian Panorama section. The jury for International Competition includes chairperson Shekhar Kapur along with Michael Radford from UK, Julia Jentsch from Germany, Israel based Palestinian filmmaker Suha Arraf, and Jeon Kyu-Hwan from South Korea,” said the minister.

IFFI, in collaboration with the International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication (ICFT), Paris and Unesco will be presenting the ICFT-Unesco Fellini Prize to a film which reflects the ideals of peace, tolerance, non-violence and friendship promoted by Unesco. IFFI 2015 will also be conducting a special seminar on Film and Cultural diversity.

The Indian Panorama will have films from different languages and states. The 13-member Feature jury for selection was headed by chairperson, Aribam Syam Sharma while the seven-member Non-Feature jury was led by chairperson Rajendra Janglay.

This year, the section ‘Focus on North East Cinema’ will have a Special Retrospective on Sharma, an eminent filmmaker, actor and music composer from Manipur, along with a unique segment featuring next generation filmmakers from the northeast region.

Commencing a special feature this year, the festival in association with the Oscar Academy, will organize master classes with Academy members Mark Mangini, Milt Shefter and Humphrey Dixon on varied topics like sound designing, film archive and film editing.

“IFFI will also recognise young talent of cinema through the ‘First Cut’ section,” said Jaitley. The section would feature emerging filmmakers including Brian Perkins (“Golden Kingdom”, US), Michael Klette (“Solness”, Germany) and Piotr Chrzan (“Moskvich-My Love”, Poland).

In a special series titled ‘In Conversation’, Indian filmmakers Shyam Benegal, Vettrimaran, Kaushik Ganguli and Anand L. Rai will be present to discuss films and the art of filmmaking with the audience.

IFFI 2015 will feature a special section ‘World Cinema Restored Classics’ to highlight the idea of film restoration. The fest will also have a package of classics to put the spotlight on the National Film Heritage Mission.

 (IANS)

 

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‘Hichki’: An emotionally inspiring film

The film reveals how as a student she was expelled from twelve schools before finally being accepted whole heartedly at St. Notker's High School

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Rani Mukherji at an award function recently
Rani Mukherji's Hichki is definitely a must-watch. Wikimedia Commons
  • Film Hichki is directed by Sidharth P. Malhotra
  • It stars Rani Mukerji, Supriya Pilgaonkar, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Neeraj Kabi, Shivkumar Subramaniam, Asif Basra, Ivan Rodrigues, Harsh Mayar and Kunal Shinde
  • The movie is great to experience some relaxed time

Adapted from a 2008 released English film, “Front of the Class”, which is based on Brad Cohen’s book “Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had”, director Sidharth P. Malhotra’s “Hichki” is a feel good, emotionally packed and inspirational film.

It is the touching story of Naina Mathur, a young girl who would not let Tourette Syndrome keep her from doing what she loved most; teaching. Despite her speech defect, she sets out to become a teacher.

Anil Kapoor is one of the most legendary actors in India. Twitter
Anil Kapoor also shares the screen in the movie. Twitter

Tourette syndrome is a neuropsychiatric disorder which sets off multiple motor tics which include compulsive throat-clearing, knee knocking, violent muscle twitches and piercing barks. These tics are beyond one’s control. While the exact cause that sets off these tics is not known, it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Rani Mukerji as the plucky Naina Mathur is flawless. She portrays her character with sincerity.

“I can’t see you as a teacher,” one blunt administrator tells her. To which, she replies, “Before meeting me, did you know about Tourette Syndrome? Well, now that you know, I have educated you.” This simply tells you how persevering she is.

The film reveals how as a student she was expelled from twelve schools before finally being accepted whole heartedly at St. Notker’s High School. The same school later accepts her as a teacher, mid-term, not because of her brilliant academic credentials but because of a crisis situation. She is hired to teach a class of underprivileged, reluctant misfits. How she wins everyone’s hearts, forms the crux of the tale. Looking back periodically to show Naina as a child, the film is most powerful in some of those flashback sequences.

Also Read: Rani Mukerji talks about speech impairment on the launch oh “Hichki”

How as a child, she convinces herself that Tourette Syndrome is her lifelong companion and that could teach her important lessons about human nature. That bit of disassociation which is crucial helps her cope with otherwise difficult situations. This comes through in her strained relationship with her father and also when she tells her school teacher, Mr. Khan, “Treat me like other students.”

The film is packed with dramatic moments that are as truthful as they are inspiring. Every scene resonates with sentiments. With apt metaphors and lingo, the writing is simple and straightforward. And while the film intends on communicating life-affirming values, there are moments in the first half that seem forced.

The second half, despite the painstakingly moralistic notes, touches the right chords. You get so immersed with the characters especially Naina. You feel sorry for her when despite her sincere efforts, her class gets suspended, for no fault of theirs.

Hichki is a feel good film.

What elevates the film is the brilliant performances by the supporting cast. You can relate with every character as each one of them is well-etched. The ones that stand out apart from the gang of students are Sachin and Supriya Pilgaonkar as Naina’s estranged parents, Ivan Rodrigues as the School Principal, Neeraj Kabi as Naina’s colleague at school who is keen to dismiss Naina’s students from the school and of course the character who plays Naina’s brother.

The loving relationship between the siblings is well-defined. With ace production values, the film is well-made. The only sore point is the loud background score that kills the subtlety of the subject. Overall, “Hichki” remains in your mental space long after you leave the theatre. IANS