Selection of Indian films — a tough job

DUBAI — The sheer volume of films produced annually in India, and the subcontinent’s rich regional cinema made the selection of Indian films for the Dubai International Film Festival a very tough job, Uma Da Cunha, one of the film programmers for the festival told Khaleej Times.

By Zaigham Ali Mirza

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Published: Sun 12 Dec 2004, 11:37 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:26 PM

“The Indian film industry is huge in terms of the number of films produced each year. The number of films that could be selected was just five while some 800 films are annually produced by the Indian film industry,” Da Cunha said. She noted that the selection was also done keeping in mind the guidelines for the programming which emphasised on light entertainment value of selected films.

The five films selected from the Indian segment, under the theme Bollywood Meets Bollywood segment of the festival, include Bollywood Hollywood, Koi Mil Gaya, Mr India, Hari Om, and Kandukondain Kandukondain.

According to Da Cunha the choice of Subhash Ghai as a director in spotlight is appropriate for his popularity and acclaim as a seasoned Bollywood director. The selection of titles from the long list of films directed by him are popular not just in India but have been received well by audience everywhere.

She admitted that she would have preferred to have films released in the recent past but pointed out that these have already been viewed by audience in the UAE. Replying to a question on selection of serious cinema, she said that it would be more flexible in the future when the festival would have gained ground in terms of popularity in the common film goers here in Dubai.

She said the festival has gone well so far, and the actual evaluation of the response it elicited from various sectors would be much clearer only at its conclusion. “The venue is palatial, and the arrangements are excellent, but the theatres are located in different areas. What I like most is the theme of the event — Bridging Cultures, and everybody wants peace in the world,” she said of her views on the festival and its arrangements.

Finding new audience

RAJAT Kapoor, much known in the Indian crowds for his on screen appearances in Dil Chahta Hai and Monsoon Wedding, is the director of the much acclaimed Raghu Romeo, which after having being screened at 17 international film festivals is being featured at the DIFF.

The director/actor was at the venue, walking around getting a feel of the place, barely minutes after reaching his hotel. Speaking to Khaleej Times on what he expects from the festival, he said, “Finding new audience, nothing else matters.”

His film clinched the Best Film award at Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) Film Festival, and the actor in the lead role, Vijay Raaz bagged the Best Actor Award at the Dhaka International Film Festival. Kapoor’s most prestigious achievement was the screening of Raghu Romeo at the 56th Locarno International Film Festival (‘Piazza Grande’ section) in Switzerland. An interesting fact about Raghu Romeo is that the film was partly financed by cinema-lovers who responded (by buying shares) to a call by the director on his web site.

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