Shimla film festival

Shimla: The two day Shimla Film Festival – 2014, initiative of Himachal Media Pvt Ltd, showcasing a mix of films by Himachal Filmmakers and films from other parts of the country as well as one foreign short film, got of underway Saturday morning.

The Film Fest has aroused the interest of many filmmakers with several of them converging from Mumbai, Delhi and other places to be present at the screening of their films

Inaugural screening was done with the Himachali feature folk film ‘Belasru’ by Professor Jaidev Gupta. Professor Gupta by clipping of a film shooting clapboard, followed by the director’s command of – “Light, Sound, Camera & Action” launched the film festival that got the day’s screening started.

The film is based on local marriage and divorce laws that are more liberal than those codified and empower women with more rights in deciding about their marital choices.

Speaking on the occasion of the inaugural screening Professor Gupta said that Himachal Filmmakers are a struggling lot and the industry is yet to take root in the state.

Ten years ago, the Punjabi Film Industry is where the bouquet of Himachali films at Shimla Film Festival is today, but in the intervening period that regional film industry has got established, he said. Should film festivals focusing on Himachali films like this be held more regularly, in time a vibrant film industry will establish itself in the state, Gupta added.

Other than the inaugural feature film, two other Himachal feature films, Budha Pahad Ka, a comedy and an award winning Dil Ch Wasya Koi are being screened at the festival. Set in Dharamshala, Dile Ch Vasya Koi is about love alone triumphs.

Of the 34 films to be screened at the festival, 18 are by Himachal Filmmakers, which include 3 feature films, 3 short films, 6 documentaries, 4 music videos and two public awareness spot advertisement films.

The films by Himachal Filmmakers are competing for awards that will be announced at an award ceremony scheduled to be held at 5 p.m. at the historic Gaiety Theatre on Sunday (13 April, 2014). Governor Urmila Singh will preside over the Award ceremony and will give away the awards to Himachal filmmakers.

Where films by Himachal Filmmakers drew the interest of the audience, films by other Indian filmmakers did bring out the vast qualitative differences in the filmmaking crafts being practiced elsewhere.

An engineer and MBA by qualification Amit Baweja is a filmmaker by profession, who has come from Mumbai to be present at the screening of his shot film Muktibodh. “It was not just to be present for screening of my film but a long desire to see Shimla that has brought me here,” he says.

Muktibodh is one of the 16 films from the open category shortlisted by an eminent jury for screening at the festival. In all there were 51 films entered in the open film category even though they were not competing for any award but for screening opportunity.

Shot on a shoe string budget, the film is about aspirations and defeat. Baweja’s film has also been selected for the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Other filmmakers who are at the festival include Mumbai Filmmaker Deepak Sharma who was present for the screening of his film ‘Waapasi’, Ahmadabad Filmmaker Ajay Kanaujiya was present for screening of his documentary ‘Ghumantu’, Himachal filmmaker Sanjeev Rattan whose award winning feature film ‘Dile Ch Vasya Kot’ is to be screened in the evening, Himachal Filmmaker Vikas Rana whose animation music video ‘Amma Puchdi’ was screened in the afternoon and Himachal filmmaker Nawal Kishore whose documentary Preserving Ancient Art of Weaving Kinnauri Shawls was also screened in the afternoon.

‘Agu Kore Hathadu’ an amateur music video by Des Kashyap, shot in homeland Himachal but edited and processed at the adopted home in USA was also screened today.

‘No Bread’ a film in Spanish with English sub-titles about a struggling 72 year old grocer threatened by a supermarket business, was screened in the evening.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.