IFFLA 2014 – A diverse cinematic feast for the spirit!
I was very fortunate to attend the Indian Film Festival in LA between April 8th and April 13th. I came away feeling truly inspired. On my first day there, I had the bright idea of shooting video of my experience, with my iPhone. I walked around with my iPhone on a monopod. It was fun, I felt very ‘indie’ nari! In all, 8 people asked me where I got the gadget from 🙂 I made a short video on Day 1 and then decided, I needed to get a better microphone if I want to vlog in a loud place. For those that are interested, I am uploading an under 2 minute video about Day 1 at IFFLA, on Indie Nari TV.
My overall feeling at IFFLA was one of complete awe at the quality and diversity of the films I watched. Some of my personal favorites were Fandry, Qissa, Aankhon Dekhi, Liar’s Dice, Ugly and Phoring. These 6 films are in 5 different languages! This can happen ONLY in India.
I loved how culturally specific the films were, it made the viewing experience so authentic, diverse and rich.
In Nagraj Manjule’s Fandry, I was transported to the beautiful camel colored landscape of rural Maharashtra, to times I’ve spent camping and trekking through the Sahyadris, during my school days. The story, its visual story telling, the thematic clarity, the performances and the background score by Alokananda Dasgupta make this simple story of caste discrimination in India a true gem.
Qissa by Anup Singh, took the audience to a recently partitioned Punjab. The very original story, the visual beauty, the music, the language and the performances in this film were just breathtaking. Tillotama Shome, Rasika Dugal, Tisca Chopra and Irrfan Khan were brilliant!
Rajat Kapoor’s Aankhon Dekhi is an incredibly original film. A feast of humor, excellent dialogue, like this gem had me laughing out loud,”Accha chup rehe kar aur bhi zyada gyaan milega”! Performances so brilliant they seemed almost documentary like! The music is brilliant and the elaborate mise-en-scene shots were all the work of a master auteur. Rajat Kapoor is a genius, India’s Fellini, I eagerly await his next film and I will be watching this one a few more times. After the film, I half expected to exit the theater and buy chai in a kulhaad in a galli in Old Delhi!
I was so happy to hear that Nagraj Manjule’s film, ‘Fandry’ got the jury award for Best Feature film. I had a wonderful interview with him the day before he received the award and was touched by his simplicity and genuineness. Congratulations Nagraj and Vivek Kajaria. I will post the video tomorrow with my detailed post on Fandry. Even though I felt gulit pangs every so often, about leaving the kids for 5 days, I am so glad I took the time for myself. My creativity was definitely sparked and I feel ENERGIZED!