The much-awaited 51st edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) got off on Saturday with enthralling cultural performances amidst a dazzling ceremony celebrating the joy of cinema.
Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium at Panaji in Goa reverberated with the passion of film-stars, film-makers and film-lovers from around the world.
The opening ceremony of Asia’s oldest and India’s biggest film festival has been hosted by actor, author and film-producer Tisca Chopra and became further illuminated by the dazzling presence of eminent film-maker Priyadarshan Nair and noted actor Sudeep who has been the chief guest, among other celebrated film personalities.
The function also saw the graceful presence of Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar and Chief Minister of Goa Pramod Sawant, among other dignitaries, according to Press Information Bureau of India.
Speaking on the occasion, Sudeep, also known as Kichha Sudeep said, “Let Cinema be the new pandemic”.
He said, “Cinema is one fraternity that, from one seat, takes you all around the world, gets you the knowledge, gets you closer to the culture of every fraternity across the world”.
Addressing the audience, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar said that 600 International entries and 190 Indian entries have been received this year, reflecting the huge importance the world attaches to it.
Javadekar announced, on the occasion of 100th birth anniversary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the two countries are together making a film titled Bangabandhu.
Veteran actor and Director Biswajit Chatterjee has been conferred Indian Personality of the Year Award, he further announced.
Jadavekar said, unlike other countries, India has multiple favourable destinations for shooting. "Hence, we need to promote ‘Shoot in India," stated the Minister.
In the context of Film Bazaar, the Union Minister said, film is not only a source of entertainment, but also a big market.
“Human being is an imaginative being; films which appeal to the imagination make us laugh, cry and make us one, united in the story. If the story is told well, the film will become popular.”
The Minister said that we will make a beginning to private participation in film festival, from 52nd IFFI. He said that the 51st edition of IFFI will run on seven screens, and lakhs of mobiles and TVs and will reach the whole world.
The Chief Minister of Goa Shri Pramod Sawant invited Indian and global film makers to look at Goa as a preferred destination for film making.
"The annual IFFI gives an opportunity to members of film fraternity from across the world to explore the jewel from the west coast of India", he said.
High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India Mohammad Imran was also present on the occasion.
Bangladesh is the focus country of the festival this year.
Apart from the recognition of the creativity and ingenuity of the film-makers of Bangladesh, it is also a testimony of the depth of relations and a historic bind between the two neighbouring countries, said the High Commissioner.
“We thank the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, for organizing this festival in this challenging time. It shows the commitment and courage you have to face and overcome the challenging situation as well as your passion and love for arts and culture”, he said.
The delegates will be treated to ten of the best films from the focus country Bangladesh, showcasing the country’s cinematic excellence and contributions to the world of cinema.
The Lifetime Achievement in the 51st IFFI has been given to Italian cinematographer Vittorio Storaro.
In a video message, Storaro thanked IFFI for recognizing his journey.
The legendary cinematographer said that he owes the incredible visual journey he had, to his colleagues and great directors like Bernardo Bertolucci, Francis Coppola, Carlos Oliveira and Woody Allen.
“They led me in a special way, like in an orchestra, to use my language of light”, he said. In a word of advice to young cinematographers, he said, “Study, research, prepare yourself. Love what you do, only if you love and believe in something, you can make it”.
“India is a wonderful universe which allows us to continue dreaming day by day, since everything is possible in India”, said Chairman of International Jury, Argentine Film Director Pablo Cesar, in a video message.
The 14th Edition of NFDC Film Bazaar was also virtually launched by Union Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar on the occasion.
This NFDC Film Bazaar will be held in a hybrid format which will be both offline and online.
The Film Bazaar will be held virtually but it will include all sections usually held in previous editions.
Film Bazaar is the largest South Asian film market.
It encourages creative and financial collaboration between the South Asian and International film communities.
A trailor of the festival’s opening film ‘Another Round’ by Danish film-maker Thomas Vinterberg was played in the opening ceremony.
“As a starting point, this was a pure celebration of alcohol, but it grew into a celebration of life”, said the Director in a video message.
The movie is Denmark’s official entry to the Oscars and stars Cannes Best Actor Award winner Mads Mikkelsen.
In the 51st IFFI, 126 films from 60 countries will be showcased in International sections.
Some 85 films out of these will be premiere screenings, including 7 World Premieres, 6 International Premieres, 22 Asian Premieres and 50 Indian Premieres.
Masterclasses and In-conversation sessions, which have been the highlight of IFFI over the years, will also be held virtually.
Renowned film personalities like Shekhar Kapur, Priyadarshan, Pablo Cesar (from Argentina) and Prasanna Vithanage (from Sri Lanka) will be sharing their valuable experience for these sessions.
A retrospective section will showcase legendary film-maker Satyajit Ray’s popular classics like Pather Panchali, Shatranj Ke Khilari, Charulata, Ghare Baire and Sonar Kella.
On the occasion of the 150th Birth Anniversary of the father of Indian Cinema, four films by Dadasaheb Phalke will be screened.
IFFI will also pay Homage to 18 film personalities who passed away in the previous year.
This includes much loved personalities like Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, S.P Balasubrahmanyam, Soumitra Chatterjee, Sushant Singh Rajput and Basu Chatterjee.
World premiere of ‘Mehrunisa’ by Sandeep Kumar will take place mid-fest in IFFI. Japanese movie ‘Wife of a Spy’ directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa will bring the curtains down on this edition of the festival.
Whereas film connoisseurs can enjoy films by prominent filmmakers such as Pedro Almodóvar Caballero, Ruben Ostlund and Kim Ki-duk, delegates will also have the opportunity to enjoy seven great new films nominated for the Best Debut Feature Film of a Director.
Apart from this, ten films will be shown as part of the ICFT- UNESCO Gandhi Medal competition, selected for reflecting Mahatma Gandhi's ideals of peace, tolerance and non-violence.
Due to the current Covid scenario, many Bollywood celebrities could not be remain physically present in the function. Their video messages brought a feel of their virtual presence in the ceremony.
“ I congratulate all the participants of the 51st IFFI’ - Anupam Kher
“What an amazing way to kick-start 2021 by celebrating some of the finest cinematic works from across the globe” – Ayushmann Khurrana
“IFFI is something we all film-enthusiasts look forward to. One of the most prestigious festivals in the world” – Anil Kapoor
"What better way to kick-start 2021 than by celebrating some of the finest cinematic works from across the globe” – Madhuri Dixit
“Congratulations IFFI on bringing in your 51st edition” – Ranveer Singh
“Go and watch some great films” – Siddhant Chaturvedi
“…..I am so glad that despite the pandemic and the trials the year has put us through, IFFI has been held with all safety precautions put in place” – Vidya Balan
“It has become abundantly clear that the internet is changing the way in which people experience watching movies. I am sure the Goa film festival will explore reinvent or reframe the film festival experience itself. I see such online festivals becoming popular as being a way of building up a community. This, perhaps, will be the new norm of interacting with film festivals, especially with the film-makers, actors and technicians from around the globe. ” – Mohan Lal
Festival Director Shri Chaitanya Prasad said: “The 51st edition has written a new narrative where other film festivals in the world will get a new template of excellence. Referring to Resurgent India, Inspirational India and the idea of New India, we have positioned this festival through the medium of films. This festival has taught us how to weave content with technology; we are extremely happy that we have come up with a hybrid festival, the next few days are going to set the standards for other film festivals.”
In her welcome address, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Neerja Shekhar said they remain committed to further promote the film sector in the country and look forward towards actively promoting the AVGC sector as well.
Chief Secretary of Goa Shri Shri Puneet Kumar; MD-Entertainment Society of Goa, Shri Amit Satija; Secretary General of Film Federation of India and IFFI Screening Committee Member, Shri Ravi Kottarakara; IFFI Festival Director, Shri Chaitanya Prasad were also present amongst the senior functionaries of the Government of India.
The cultural performances in the opening ceremony specially focussed on the local folk culture and music of Goa - a place that has been home to IFFI since 2004.
Echoing the slogan "Better Film, Better Audience and Better Society", the 19th edition of the Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) has officially began in the capital on Saturday.
The nine-day festival was inaugurated by Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen as chief guest while the Indian High Commissioner in Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami joined as the special guest.
Presided over by Liberation War Museum trustee Dr Mofidul Hoque, festival director Ahmed Muztaba Jamal delivered the welcome speech at the ceremony.
The event was also attended by festival patron M Hamid, DIFF chairperson Kishwar Kamal, festival's Asian Films Competition jury and renowned art critic Moinuddin Khaled and more, among others.
Referring the Dhaka International Film Festival as a 'flagship' event in the domain of films and film appreciation in the context of Bangladesh, FM said in his speech that the festival is slowly but gradually becoming a high platform for projecting the Bangladeshi understanding of the evolution of the film-space all over the world.
"The 19th DIFF is dedicated to the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. It is coming up at a time when we are crossing over from within the ‘MujibBorsho’ to the Golden Jubilee of our Independence. It was the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who had first tabled the bill in the provincial assembly of erstwhile East Pakistan for the formation of Film Development Corporation (FDC) in 1957, which eventually became BFDC after the independence of Bangladesh – and till today holds and nurtures the principal foundation of Bangladesh’s Film Industry," Dr Momen said in his speech.
Addressing the role of the government regarding the ongoing pandemic, FM said, "The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has managed the COVID19 situation very successfully across the country and at present we see that the infection level is reduced to less than 10%. So for the sake of our film industry, the government has opened the theatres again under conditions of health and social-distancing restrictions."
"Even with constraints put in place by COVID19, this is a great event for gathering and presenting creative minds around the world.Through this event, I hope that people will know and learn about culture, society, tradition and beliefs of other countries", Dr Momen said at the event.
Indian ambassador Vikram K Doraiswami said, "India has always been a loyal cultural companion to Bangladesh. A biopic on the Father of the Nation, documenting the life and works of the greatest Bengali of all times, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's - and we are proud that the Bangladesh-India joint venture production also commences filming this January (2021)."
Festival director Ahmed Muztaba Jamal said, “Promoting healthy cine culture in Bangladesh and celebrating the global mainstream of film, Rainbow Film Society has been organising the festival since 1977. Though the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19 impacted every aspects of our lives, we tried to include all the sections of films in this festival through a hybrid format for the first time in DIFF's history."
The 19th edition of DIFF is showcasing a total of 226 films from around 73 countries.
The films will be screened at venues namely the main auditorium and Sufia Kamal Auditorium of the Bangladesh National Museum, Shawkat Osman Memorial Auditorium of the Sufia Kamal National Public Library, the National Art Gallery Auditorium and Music and Dance Centre of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Nandan Mancha of the academy, and branches of Star Cineplex. Aside from these venues, the festival will screen films using the virtual platform LagVelki.com for the first time.
The 19th DIFF will have a competition for its diversified segments including the Asian Cinema Competition Section, Legendary Leaders Who Changed the World, Tribute, Retrospective, Bangladesh Panorama Section, Cinema of the World Section, Children Films Section, Women Filmmakers Section, Short and Independent Films Section and Spiritual Films Section.
This year’s festival will feature films on global leaders under a new segment titled ‘Legendary Leaders Who Changed the World’, for the first time in its history. This will honour the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation and the Founding President of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as part of the Mujib Borsho celebration across the country.
A very special segment of 19th DIFF is called ‘Tribute’ which will honour the Oscar-winning cinema titan Satyajit Ray, on the occasion of his birth centenary. Some of his notable films including “Pather Panchali”, “Aparajito”, “Jalsaghar”, “Apur Sansar”, “Ashani Sanket”, “Sonar Kella” and “Hirak Rajar Deshe” will be screened at the festival as part of this Section.
Besides, the festival will also arrange a special seminar session on January 20 at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy titled “Satyajit Ray: National as Global”, which will observe a keynote paper presentation by cultural activist and Trustee, Bangladesh Liberation War Museum and will be joined by renowned actors and activists as the discussants from India and Bangladesh, including Padma Bhushan-winning actress Sharmila Tagore, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Supreme Court of Bangladesh justice and well-known painting, music and movie collector Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed, art critic and festival Asian section jury Moinuddin khaled and former Cultural Affairs Minister and legendary thespian Asaduzzaman Noor.
The 19th DIFF will also feature Seventh Dhaka International Conference on Women in Cinema 2021, which will be held from January 17 to January 18. Women filmmakers, actors and personalities from all over the world are scheduled to participate in the event.
Rainbow Film Society has been organising DIFF since 1992 with the theme Better Film, Better Audience and Better Society. It has been working to promote a healthy cine culture in Bangladesh since 1977.
The 19th edition of DIFF will conclude on January 24.
Director Rezwan Shahriar Sumit’s maiden feature film ‘Nonajoler Kabbo’ (The Salt in Our Waters) won the prestigious NETPAC AWARD at the 26th Kolkata International Film Festival, held from January 8-15 in Kolkata, India.
Ended on Friday, this year's festival awarded the Bangladeshi film as the winner of the Asian Select (NETPAC Award) section as the best among the 6 entries in this category.
The film, starring seasoned actors including Fazlur Rahman Babu, Shatabdi Wadud, Titas Zia, Tasnova Tamanna, Ashok Bepari and more, is based on a clash-of-cultures story narrative which is set in a remote coastal village of Bangladesh, shinning a unique light on love and resilience.
"My debut feature film wins the NETPAC AWARD at the 26th Kolkata International Film Festival. Special thanks to honorable jury members Patricia Elser Gillespie, Brian Bennett and Ranjan Palit for selecting us", director Rezwan Shahriar Sumit shared on his Facebook profile.
He also shared another achievement of the film, saying, "The Salt in Our Waters is heading to Göteborg Film Festival next. Coming soon to a theater near you!".
‘Nonajoler Kabbo’ is the only film representing South Asia in this prestigious competition, according to media reports.
Yet to be released in multiplexes, Nonajoler Kabbo has already been premiered and received critical appraisal in renowned festivals and also been awarded several prestigious funds, including the prestigious Torino Film Lab Audience Design Fund of 45,000 Euro, 'Aide aux cinémas du monde fund' worth 80,000 Euro in 2018, Bangladesh National Film Grant in 2017 and a writing grant from Director Spike Lee in 2016.
It was a semifinalist in Sundance Screenwriters Lab in 2017 and was also invited to the Film Bazaar Co-Production Market in Goa, India in 2016.
It’s almost second nature for many to indulge in the most decadent treats within our grasp as we anticipate bingeing for hours on end (we have you covered here), but snacking healthily is a whole different thing. For some, snacking is more out of habit, while others yearn to have their cravings met. With these healthy snacks for your Netflix Binge, you can almost go all out without having to worry about your waistline!
Potato chips are definitely one of the most common snacks out there that has the capacity to snowball weight gain, but this alternative deals with that issue while not compromising on flavour. Zucchini chips are less common, but still commercially available online - containing less than a third (40 calories - per half cup) of regular potato chips (150 calories - per half cup). If you’re trying to avoid carbs, this crispy treat can help with that too. For DIY aficionados, adding salt and vinegar to zucchini slices, followed by dehydration are all simple steps that can give you similar levels of quality.
Blueberries and Yogurt
There aren’t any mainstream sinful snacks that blueberries and yogurt can directly substitute for, but it has more than enough to supplement your nutritional needs. A dozen servings add up to only 38 calories which makes this perfect if you’re looking to fill up quick. Blueberries provide tons of antioxidants while yogurt serves as a rich source of calcium and protein. Bare in mind that the yogurt can only serve as a healthy complement if chosen with as little sugar as possible.
Also read: Top Snacks for A Netflix Binge
Apple Slices with Peanut Butter
To some, this snack could be considered an abomination at first glance - but you’d be surprised how well this couple complement each other. Apples are crammed with nutritional benefits like high fiber and antioxidant properties that do wonders for the gut and heart. Peanut butter on the other hand does admittedly count pretty high in terms of calories (still below 200 per serving) but is an excellent source of protein and even reduces cholesterol.
Also read: A favorite late morning snack
Celery Sticks with Cream Cheese
This choice is possibly the least complicated option on the list, easily prepared in less than five minutes. Celery sticks are extremely light and easy to gorge for hours while supplying your body with luteolin; an antioxidant that reduces inflammation. Cream cheese is decadent in its own right, but 60 grams of it will not even hit the 200 calorie mark. If celery sticks aren’t your thing, carrot and cucumber sticks are decent alternatives that add their own nutritional benefits that complement your dairy counterpart perfectly.
Shakrain – a celebration of kites and lights – is one of the oldest festivals of Bangladesh. It starts with kite flying and ends with unity and friendship.
The festival is an annual celebration in Dhaka which marks the end of the ninth month of Bengali calendar – Poush. The day is also known as Poush Sankranti and Shakrain or Ghuri Utshob.
Shakrain is celebrated mostly in the southern part of Dhaka city where colourful kites fill the sky.
Also read: Shakrain: Recognising the root of Old Dhaka
Thousands of people get on their rooftops to sing, dance and fly kites of different colours and shapes. They also have kite fights with their neighbours.
And when the winter sun starts setting, parties and fireworks take over the festivities. Music awakens the whole town and flamboyant groups arrange daylong programmes, including concerts and parties.
Flame-eaters and fire-spinners gather on rooftops to entertain people with their skills.
A UNB Photojournalist captured the colours and lights of Shakrain at Old Dhaka on Thursday.
People of Old Dhaka fly kites from the roof of their apartment complexes to celebrate Shakrain.
Youths climb to their rooftops to sing and dance.
Flame-eaters entertain people with their skills.
Dazzling light shows brighten Old Dhaka’s night sky.