India on the big screen

THE DUBAI International Film Festival has unveiled the lineup for the 2007 Indian movie section. This year the diverse and exciting Indian films will feature in a separate segment for the first time known as 'A Celebration of Indian Cinema'.



Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF’s Artistic Director, said: “This year DIFF has created a separate programme for Indian Cinema as it is a country with a vast supply of thriving and creative regional films.

In creating a new segment for Indian cinema, the lesser known cinematic traditions of India will now have a platform to reach a larger audience.'

Simon Field, DIFF’s Artistic Director, International Programming, added: “We particularly thought it deserved its own section in the festival because of the large and enthusiastic Indian public here in Dubai.”

The full range of Indian cinema will be apparent in this year’s cross-section of genres featuring a range of the region’s top talents, including several unique collaborations and celebrated works that have won recognition at other festivals.

Myth buster

AIDS JAAGO, an artistic collaboration between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and filmmaker Mira Nair (Salaam Bombay, Monsoon Wedding) and her company Mirabai Films, presents four short films by some of India’s best contemporary directors that dismantle myths and misconceptions about HIV/Aids in India.

Set all over India, AIDS JAAGO showcases the creative filmmaking brilliance of Santosh Sivan (Prarambha, The Beginning), Farhan Akhtar (Positive), Vishal Bhardwaj (Blood Brothers) and Mira Nair (Migration).

The film had its world premiere at the 32nd Toronto International Film Festival, and the panoply of stars includes Irfan Khan, Shabana Azmi, Sameera Reddy, Shiney Ahuja, Raima Sen, Ayesha Takia, Rahul Bose, Nandita Das, Prabhu Deva and Siddarth.

Cold comfort

Films that explore topical political content are also prevalent at DIFF this year: Frozen, which has garnered recognition at top festivals, is the story of a family of three leading a sparse close-knit existence amongst the remote, snow-capped Himalayan mountains until the arrival of the Indian Army and the daily irreversible conflicts it brings to their isolated lives The film is the debut feature of Shivajee Chandrabhushan, with seasoned actor Danny Denzongpa in the lead role.

Straddling two cultures

Before the Rains, the English language debut of acclaimed director Santosh Sivan (The Terrorist, Asoka) portrays the dilemma of a married British colonialist in 1930’s India who is caught having an affair with his beautiful housemaid. By contrasting the beliefs and lifestyles of the local villagers and the colonialists, the film explores the predicament of people who straddle two cultures. It stars Linus Roache, Nandita Das and Rahul Bose.

Films that explore topical political content are also prevalent at DIFF this year: Frozen, which has garnered recognition at top festivals, is the story of a family of three leading a sparse close-knit existence amongst the remote, snow-capped Himalayan mountains until the arrival of the Indian Army and the daily irreversible conflicts it brings to their isolated lives The film is the debut feature of Shivajee Chandrabhushan, with seasoned actor Danny Denzongpa in the lead role.

Political thriller

Another very timely presentation will be the London-shot Shoot to Kill, a political thriller by Jag Mundhra that features Om Puri and Naseerudin Khan in a central role as a police commissioner torn between loyalties.

Women to the fore

DIFF also provides a chance to see noncommercial gems that might never make it to local screens. Naalu Pennungal (Four Women) is the tenth feature from internationally acclaimed director Adoor Gopalakrishnan, released recently in Kerala to an enthusiastic response. It portrays the struggles of women in a male-dominated society. With power packed performances from Padmapriya, Manju Pillai, Geetu Mohandas and Nadita Das, the film depicts the subjugation and undermining of Indian women of the southern region of Kerala.

Sleeper hit

Manish Acharya's debut feature Loins of Punjab is a roller-coaster, rib-tickling story of seven strangers whose lives collide over three days in a small New Jersey town as they take part in a Bollywood-styled singing contest. Actress and activist Shabana Azmi stars in this English sleeper hit which has delighted audiences across India in the last weeks.

Another rare contribution, Lal Pahare’r Katha (A Story of the Red Hills) makes its World Premiere in Dubai, following the life of a tribal dancer whose innate love for the art form helps him overcome a failed relationship.

The fourth edition of DIFF runs from December 9-16.


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