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Indian Cinema, Abroad: Venice

The movies which made India proud, at the Venice Film Festival!

January 4, 2017

Venice is the oldest of the big 3.

In fact, it is said that it was after a snub by the Venice Film Festival for a french film, that the Cannes festival was born.

That should pretty much suffice for an introduction.

In 2011

Anhe Ghore Da Daan (Director: Gurvinder Singh) [Punjabi]

343900-anhey-ghorhey-da-daan-alms-for-the-blind-horse

Official selection in the Orizzonti (Horizons) section

On a foggy winter morning, a family in a village in Punjab wakes up to the news of the demolition of a house on the outskirts of the village. Father, a silent sympathiser, joins the community in demand for justice. The same day, his son Melu, a rickshaw puller in the city, is participating in a strike by his union. Back in the village, his mother feels humiliated at the treatment meted out by the landlords in whose fields she works. Gunshots are heard in the night and the village is tense. It’s the night of the lunar eclipse.

Trailer: Here

Sonchidi (Director: Amit Dutta) [Hindi]

Sonchidi

Sonchidi

Official selection in the Orizzonti (Horizons) section

Two travellers are in search of a flying-craft, which one of them thinks is made by a mad engineer whom he recollects from his childhood. They believe that if they can find the craft it could possibly take them to the ultimate escape from the cycle of births. On their way to find this machine, they record their memories, dreams and fears in a soundrecorder and a notebook.

Trailer: Can’t find it 🙁

In 2014

Court (Director: Chaitanya Tamhane) [Marathi]

Court

Court

After being selected for screening, it was awarded The Best Film in the Horizons category and the Luigi De Laurentiis (Lion Of The Future) award for Tamhane, an award given to debut directors. Yes, this is his first film.

A social activist who uses folk music to spread his message is arrested, accused of inciting a sewage worker’s suicide. Lawyers from both sides of the aisle, and the rote ideologies they represent, are scrutinized as the trial plays out.

Trailer: Here

Asha Jaoar Majhe (Director: Aditya Vikram Sengupta) [Bengali]

Asha Jaoar Majhe

Asha Jaoar Majhe

Venice Days, is an independent function held on the sidelines of the Venice Film Festival, and is like the ‘Directors’ Fortnight’ event in Cannes. The film won the award for Best Director at this event.

In crumbling back lanes of modern Kolkata, a married couple can only see each other in their dreams after they work opposite shifts.

Trailer: Here

In 2015

Island City (Director: Ruchika Oberoi) [Hindi]

Island City

Island City

Just like its country-mate, this movie won the Best New Director award in the ‘Venice Days’ section.

Three stories unfold in Mumbai. A middle-aged man wins the office Fun Committee Award, a man’s family buys a TV to watch a soap while he is unconscious, and a woman’s repetitive existence is changed by a letter.

Trailer: Here

Visaranai (Director: Vetrimaaran) [Tamil]

Visaranai

Visaranai

Official selection in the Orizzonti (Horizons) section

Four labourers are tortured by the police to confess a theft they did not commit. Just when they feel relieved after being saved by an honest policeman, they soon realise the worse is yet to come.

PS: Was our Oscar nomination for this year (2016). Lost out.

Trailer: Here

In 2016

Mukti Bhawan (Director: Shubhashish Bhutiani) [Hindi]

Mukti Bhavan

Mukti Bhavan

So, Venice has this interesting competition.

Since 2012, there is this ‘Biennale College – Cinema‘ category; if you’re making your first or your sophomore effort, you come here with your script. If they like it, they will select and help you make it better along with the big names in film-making. They selected 4 entries in 2015. One of which was Mukti Bhawan. Shubhashish came back the next year, with the complete film.

It got a 10-minute standing ovation. It was also presented with the UNESCO award for Peace and Human Rights.

An ominous dream convinces 77-year-old Dayanand Kumar that his end could be near. He takes the news to his son Rajiv, knowing he wants to breathe his last in the holy city of Varanasi and end the cycle of rebirth, by attaining salvation. Being the dutiful son he is, Rajiv is left with no choice but to drop everything and make the journey with his stubborn father. Daya and Rajiv check into Mukti Bhawan (Hotel Salvation) in Varanasi, a guesthouse devoted to people who want to die there. But as the days go by, Rajiv struggles to juggle his responsibilities back home, while Daya starts to bloom in the hotel. Rajiv gives his father a shot at salvation but as family bonds are tested, he finds himself torn, and not knowing what he must do to keep his life together.

Trailer: Here


About the author: Hitesh Shetty
Dreams of writing a bestseller and changing the world. When awake, tries to figure out how to do both.

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