Saturday April 4, 2020

72nd Venice Film Festival: Indian films screened


By Atul Mishra

The 72nd Venice International Film Festival, organized by La Biennale di Venezia, is set to conclude today. The festival started on September 2 with the screenings of silver masterpieces. The aim of the festival is to raise awareness and promote the various aspects of international cinema in all its forms: as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and dialogue.

Indian films have always left their indelibility on the silver celluloid at international level. This year, three Indian masterpieces have been screened at the 72nd Venice Film Festival.


Classic film of legendary Guru Dutt, Pyaasa (1957) was screened with 20 other films from across the world for the Venice Classics Award for the best restored film.

What’s special about the film is that it’s said to be the first ever movie which has been restored in India. As per news sources, the job has been done by Ultra Media and Entertainment. The idea of taking the film to Venice came to Sushilkumar Agrawal, CEO of the company when he noticed the absence of Indian films in the retro section of prestigious fests and thus decided to restore Pyaasa which when searched on Google came among the top 100 classics.

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After the screening of the film at the festival in Venice, the movie apparently will travel to various other international film festivals, after which it will be re-released worldwide in 2016

Highly acclaimed and a classic, directed by Guru Dutt, the film narrates the story of Vijay (Guru Dutt), a struggling poet trying to make his works known in post-independence India, and Gulabo (Waheeda Rehman), a prostitute with a heart of gold who eventually helps him get his poems published.


Island City

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National Film Development Corporation’s Hindi language feature Island City, directed by the first-time feature filmmaker Ruchika Oberoi and produced under the Ministry of I&B’s 12th Five Year Plan Scheme on film production, had its world premiere at the prestigious 72nd Venice Film Festival. The film stars Vinay Pathak, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Amruta Subhash and Chandan Roy Sanyal amongst an ensemble cast and connects three stories, two black comedies and a tragicomic tale of love showing an ever-changing city in a time of uneasy transition, both economically and socially.


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Visaranai (Interrogation) is an experimental Indian Tamil-language thriller film written and directed by Vetrimaaran. The film features Attakathi Dinesh, Anandhi and Aadukalam Murugadoss in the leading roles. The film is yet to have its theatrical release in India. Actor Dhanush’s production venture Visaranai has become the first Tamil movie to have its premiere in the Orizzonti competition section of the 72nd Venice Film Festival. The film is Dhanush’s second film as producer to get international recognition after the critically acclaimed Kaaka Muttai.

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Guru Dutt classic ‘Pyaasa’ selected for Venice Film Festival



Mumbai: The legendary Guru Dutt’s immortal classic “Pyaasa” is the only Indian movie restored by an Indian company that will premiere in the competition sector of the upcoming 72nd Venice Film Festival, a top official said here on Wednesday.

A team of 45 experts of Ultra Media & Entertainment Pvt. Ltd worked round-the-clock for over four months to restore the movie to its original quality and make it ready for a global audience.

“Pyaasa” will now compete with 20 other restored classic movies from all over the world for the prestigious ‘Venice Classics Award’ for Best Restored Film, said Ultra Media & Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.’ CEO, Sushilkumar Agrawal.

The 1957 black-and-white cult movie, starring Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman and Mala Sinha, with Rehman, Johny Walker, Mehmood and Tun Tun, will be screened on September 11 and 12 at the Sala Volpi Auditorium in Venice, during the festival scheduled between Sep. 02-12.

“Ultra Media & Entertainment, who are the negative rights owners of ‘Pyaasaa’, have restored this film completely for the grand occasion with an objective of preserving and presenting it in its original quality to the global audience. It is one of the rarest gems of Indian cinema,” Agrawal told a media outlet.

The most challenging part after acquiring the rights was sourcing the authentic material to complete the preservation. After lot of efforts, the company managed to recover the original camera negatives of “Pyaasa” at an archive in India, but many parts in it were either damaged or lost, he explained.

Undeterred, the company used as many parts as possible from the original Camera Negative and a few parts were used from 35mm prints.

A new digital transfer was created in 2K resolution on the ARRISCAN film scanner, an in-house technology of the company which helped in applying a multidisciplinary, data-centric approach to the entire film’s restoration process.

Once the complete film was digitally transferred, came the most challenging part of restoration in which thousands of instances of dirt, lines, scratches, splices, warps, jitters and green patches were manually removed frame by frame.

The in-house talented professionals used a specialized film content mending and defect removal mechanism in their repair process, carefully selecting the best way to restore the priceless classic to its original quality.

Out of the many classics restored by the company, “Pyaasa” always had pride of special place and the restored version has already created a significant buzz with distribution inquiries pouring in from all over the world, Agrawal added.

Buoyed by this, the company is planning a major theatrical re-release of “Pyaasa” after the competitive screening in Venice next month.

Besides the two screenings at the festival venue, Ultra Media & Entertainment plans to promote and market it during the fest, and expects a huge demand from international distributors, sales agents, ancillary content aggregators and exhibitors for the restored version.

Produced and directed by the late Guru Dutt, “Pyaasa” is a beautiful lament of an unemployed young man who tried to carve a niche for himself as a poet in society after he is disowned by his family, but encounters rejection at every step.

Penned by Abrar Alvi and cinematographed by the veteran V. K. Murthy, the movie has music by S. D. Burman, lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi and several masterpieces rendered by Mohammed Rafi, Geeta Dutt and Hemant Kumar.

Some of its haunting numbers include: “Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai,’ “Jaane kya tune kahi” and “Jaane wo kaise log the…’

Besides “Pyaasa”, the company has restored other classics like “Dil Tera Deewana”, “Chori Chori”, “Half Ticket”, “Paigham” and “Insaniyat”.