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Art is not a luxury, but a necessity.



Jyothi Venkatesh

The Marathi movie Panghrun produced and directed by Mahesh Vaman Manjrekar bagged the Best Film Award for showing complexity of human emotions and relationships in a very aesthetic manner with cinematic excellence, besides Rs 5 lakhs in the Chitrabharathi Indian Cinema competition category while the Malayalam movie ‘Biriyani’ earned a Special Jury Award at the recently concluded 12th edition of The Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFES) conducted by the Karnataka State Chalachitra Academy. The director of the film, Sajin Babu was conferred with a citation that said- ‘powerful portrayal of the struggles and plight of suppressed women of the society’ and a cash reward of Rs 2 lakh rupees.

The awards were decided by a jury comprising of prominent filmmakers like Manju Bora, Akash Aditya Lama, Subodh Sharma, Maruti Caste and Ashish Dubey and presented to the director by the Governor of Karnataka, Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala. Biriyani produced by VAN Film House has crowned with the honor after competing with 13 movies screened in the competition for Indian films. This international film festival has proven to be a lucky charm for the director as his first film ‘Asthamayamvarey’ had also won an award at the same festival in 2015.

Biriyani which was premiered in the Asiatic Film festival in Rome and won the NETPAC award for the best film is about a narrative in a woman’s perspective on the amount of persecution her family faces when her brother is radicalized and goes missing. In the movie, Kani Kasthuri plays the lead character Khadeeja. The movie will next have American premiere at 19th Tiburon film festival in California from April 17 to 23 followed by French premiere at the Toulouse Film Festival April 22-26 and Spanish premiere at the Imagine Film Festival in Madrid from May 17 to 31.

Says Sajid Baabu, “For a couple of years now, the media has carried reports about youngsters being radicalised and travelling to countries in West Asia to join the Islamic State; some have been arrested, some are missing. I wanted to find out what happens to the families of those men. How have they been treated by neighbors, society, government and community at large? How have they sustained themselves? The questions haunted me. The movie came about on a simple question that haunted me, which is ‘How these families survived this situation”?

Bodo language film, Jwlwi – The Seed, produced and directed by Rajni Basumatary, which depicts the horror of insurgency and counter insurgency, won the Special Jury Mention award at the 12th Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFES) .The film is about hope and positivity shown in insurgency affected area and a mother’s journey to bring home her last offspring. Says Rajni, “It has been a great journey so far. The film has travelled almost all the major festivals in the country. And I am happy that after Guwahati International Film Festival, it has got the Special Jury Mention here at Bengaluru. Above all, it has reached to a wider audience which is estimated to be more than six lakh which I think is commendable.” Rajni plays the protagonist whose husband was killed mistakenly during a counter-insurgency operation. Later her son was also killed. And finally her journey to find her grandchild lands her in Thailand. Jwlwi has portrayed the horror of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which gives the security forces sweeping powers to arrest any individual on the basis of suspicion.

Rajni, who had played Mary Kom’s mother in the Priyanaka Chopra-starrer biopic, has herself witnessed the horrific incidents of insurgency and counter-insurgency in the region in the 1990s.The film has been screened in several major international film festivals across the country. Besides having its theatrical release, the film was displayed in rural areas especially in the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR). The screenings took place in more than 50 villages. The film has also won a number of awards in several film festivals in the country. The 12th BIFF was organized by the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy for Karnataka government.

THE FIPRESCI International Critics Jury Award was bagged by the film The Dog And His Man, produced and directed by Siddharth Tripathy for its graceful ability to tell a touching story of once local and universal, one when the daily life of a humble man and the natrure of which he is a part are trampled by the logic of profit.The popular movies showcased at the BIFFES, 12th edition were ‘Arghyam’; a Kannada movie directed by Y. Srinivas, ‘Lilian’; a English movie directed by Andreas Horvath and Anant Mahadevan’s Marathi film Mai Ghat: Crime No 103/2005. Ananth Mahadevan- Director, ‘Mai Ghat: Crime No 103/2005’(Marathi), Nithin Bhaskar-Director, ‘Kaajro’ (Konkani), Sumitra Bhave-Director, ‘Dithee’ (Marathi), Mohan Agashe- Actor, ‘Dithee’, Santhosh Kumar KC-Producer, ‘Bellbottom’(Kannada), Rishab Shetty, Actor, ‘Bellbottom’,Dayal Padmanabhan-Director, ‘Ranganayaki’, Jayant Seege-Director, ‘96’ (Kannada), Veerendra Shetty-Director, ‘Savarna Deergha Sandhi’ (Kannada) addressed press conferences and spoek about their respective films. The press conference with well-known directors had presented an opportunity to open the floor with questions that were addressed in the film. The 12TH BIFFES 2020 ended with the award ceremony that presented the jury selected films as winners of each specific category.

In the Asian Cinema Competition (NETPAC JURY section, the Best Asian Film was bagged by Happy Old Years, produced and directed by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit from Thailand, for its original sophisticated and intricate analysis of the dynamics within family relationship making it a sensitive portrayal of the global theme of past versus present and about what needs to be disposed and what values need to remain in life.