Pune Film Festival 2011-3

The movies I watched on third day –

1)      Silent Wedding (Romania)
In 1953, a Romanian village has gathered for a wedding; the happy couple, the guests and the banquet are all ready… just at that moment, the Russian army arrives. Stalin is dead and the nation must mourn. Under threat of death, the oversexed couple, their vexatious fathers, the entire town and the muted gypsy band continue the celebration in silence.
This overwhelmingly visual film moves effortlessly from joyous eroticism, through rural pastiche to the dreadful tension of the mute wedding itself. Along the way we encounter a carnival of characters, the longest fart joke in historyJ and the truly dreadful reality of life under communism.
The comedy is laid like bait, enticing us into the tragedy yet to unfold.
I laughed my heart out through this movie. I must say, this was one of the best movies in this film festival.

2)      The last summer of La Boyita (Spanish)
In an apparently bucolic setting, a secret is revealed, accidentally, spontaneously. Returning from a horse ride, Jorgelina sees a bloodstain on Mario’s saddle. There is another one on Mario’s pants. Mario doesn’t know what to say, he has no idea as to why. Jorgelina will accompany him on his road to discovery, fear and ultimately, acceptance. This revelation, instead of separating them, will bring Jorgelina and Mario closer than ever.

3)      Taryanche Bait (Marathi)
Shreedhar Surve works as a clerk and leads a happy and contented life with his family in a beautiful konkan village of Maharashtra. His life takes a turn when he takes his wife, son and daughter with him on an official tour to Mumbai-the financial capital of India. Dazzled by the sights, Omkar, Shreedhar’s son insists on staying in a five star hotel that Shreedhar can’t even dream of affording. In order to placate his son, Shreedhar wager’s a night’s stay at the hotel if Omkar comes first in his school exams.
Omkar is in the game. The bet is on.
attempts to win the bet and the extent to which both father and son are pushed by the harsh realities of life makes for this funny, emotional, bitter-sweet tale.

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Pune Film Festival 2011-2

Continued from Day 1

1)      Woman of the mist (Japan)
a drama of lower middle class family and economic and emotional problems. Rather than advising his wayward nephew to concentrate on his studies, his uncle takes the younger out for a night of revelry. Its only when the student becomes involved in a life-altering predicament that the uncle assumes responsibility for his charge.
Director – Heinosuke Gosho directed the first “talking” picture in Japan in 1931 and came to excel in what film historians classify as Japan’s “shomingeki” genre, or movies that depict the lives of the lower and middle classes with both realism and humor.

2)      The Human Condition (Japan)
This is an epic story of one man’s struggle to retain his humanity as he descends into the turmoil of the Pacific war. His own moral standards are challenged while attempting to come to terms with man’s basest tendencies. Based on a 6 volume novel which the director compressed into 3 features, each over 3 hours long, the trilogy established Masaki Kobayashi’s international reputation. The first installment won one of the top prizes at the Venice Film Festival.
the film depicts the effects of World War II on a Japanese pacifist and socialist.

3)      Mee Sindhutai Sapkal (Marathi)
the film traces the true story of Sindhutai Sapkal, who dramatically rewrites her destiny. Born into a poor family, she is married at 12 to a 30 year old man, but is abandoned by her husband and her own family following false accusations of infidelity. About to commit suicide, she notices a tree which, though axed, still gives a shelter. Moved, she sets out on a journey towards dignity, setting up 5 orphanages fro abandoned children – even going to San Jose, USA (Marathi Sahitya Sammelan), to give fund-raising speeches. When her aging husband turns up at the orphanage, she graciously ‘adopts’ him. The film’s deep humanism in the face of injustice and humiliation gives it a universal resonance.

Pune Film Festival 2011

I last attended Pune International Film Festival in January 2009. Looking at my enthusiasm for movies, a fellow from my profession asked me to pursue it professionally. Frankly, I am of opinion that certain hobbies, passion or the things one is fond of should be kept as hobbies or passion rather than making them a profession. Otherwise the happiness/joy is lost, which is the purpose behind them!

I watched a few movies in PIFF 2011 and here is a glimpse of a few of them…

Here is a glimpse of some of them…

1)      My Widow’s Husband (Ukraine)
Eccentric billionaire Albert Castandi is up to his neck in debts. To avoid paying up, he fakes his own death, stages a funeral and bequeaths all his assets to the future husband of his young and beautiful wife, Anna, played by Kamaliya – the Ukrainian actress, pop singer and wife of Kyiv Post publisher Mohammad Zahoor.

However, his clever plan doesn’t exactly work and Anna soon finds herself in lots of trouble. She has to repulse the intrigues of a florist-gangster, fight off annoying suitors, and naturally deal with her hapless “recently deceased” husband. Amid this turmoil, she meets a charming foreigner, John Smith and better watch the rest of the part.

2)      Taita Boves (Venezuela)
“Taita Boves” chronicles a thirst for revenge that devastated a country. It tells the true story of Jose Tomas Boves, a cruel man who became a legend during the Venezuelan War of Independence, the most violent in the Americas. He went from seafarer to pirate, horse smuggler to prosperous merchant, prisoner to military chief. Spanish by birth, he spearheaded a grass root troop of slaves, Indian etc. that crushed Simon Bolivar and his patriot army. Respectfully referred to as “Taita” by them, he fought for the underprivileged and the poorest of the poor, and curtailed 3 centuries of order in this colonial region. This film is about his passions and power, his loves and misadventures, and a bloody saga that rocked Venezuela.

3)      The girl on the train (France)
Jeanne is a young woman, striking but otherwise without qualities. Her mother tries to get her a job in the office of a lawyer, Bleistein, her lover years ago. Jeanne fails the interview but falls into a relationship with Franck, a wrestler whose dreams and claims of being legitimate business partnership Jeanne is only too happy to believe. When Franck is arrested, he turns on Jeanne for her naivety; she’s stung and seeks attention by making up a story of an attack on a train. Is there any way out for her? In a subplot, Bleistein’s grandson, Nathan, prepares for his bar mitzvah and through an encounter with Jeanne, experiences intimation s of manhood.

4)      Tycoon (Japan)
An amoral businessman achieves fame and fortune but is ultimately abondoned by his wife, child and concubine. The capitalist’s thirst for power leads to his isolation. A representative director of social protest films, Yamamoto excels in the realistic portrayal of the characters and underscores his sympathy for the underprivileged.

5)      Aaghaat (Marathi)
Directed by Vikram Gokhale, a well known Indian film, TV and stage actor, the film depicts the ups and downs in a patient’s life and goes on to portray the fight of a young doctor against the established systems and practices.

I got medals in Pulse 2009

Every year our company holds annual events in December called Pulse. For Pulse 2009 I participated in following events-

Cubicle decoration

Art Attack – a team event show casing various forms of art such as face/body painting, drawing, origami, etc.

Mad Ad – a team event of radio and TV ad. We presented ad on Manager Arrival Alarm (MAA). Those

Clicks – exhibition on photography. 4 of my photos got selected for the exhibition, hoping that at least 1 photo gets selected for the calendar.

I got bronze for Art Attack and Mad Ad. It was very important for me to get at least one medal this year as I had not participated in Pulse for last 2 years. It means a lot to me.  The Pulse finale was a grand one with graceful dances, classical and Bollywood songs. The finale was concluded with the stupendous and eye candy Fashion show by the employees:).

Check out the Pulse 2009 final photos on Picasa.

Konkani film wins Discovery award at Toronto International Film Festival

“The Man Beyond the Bridge” (Paltadacho Munis in Konkani; the adaptation seems wrong, the right words would be ‘The man on the other side of the river’, I can say this as Konkani is my mother tongue), the Konkani film has won the Discovery award by film critics at at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Goan filmmaker Laxmikant Shetgaonkar made this film with the help of National Film Development Corporation (NFDC).

Rediff reports:

“I could have made this film in Marathi and Hindi,” he told Rediff. “But I am deeply attached to my mother tongue, and my documentary films are also in Konkani.”

“It’s a simple film, though it has many layers, about one man’s struggle to accept and love a mentally ill woman,” he added. “At the end of the day, you may say it is a love story but without songs.” It was among the half a dozen Indian films shown at the festival.

Following the news, Goa government announced Rs 25 lakh cash award to Laxmikant Shetgaonkar. Finally there is something to cheer about for Konkani cinema.

Harischandrachi Factory is India’s Oscar entry

This year Marathi film Harischandrachi Factory is India’s entry for Oscar.  This film was screened at City Pride Kothrud during Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) in January this year. The two-hour-long film depicts the struggle of Dadasaheb Phalke, the father of Indian cinema, to make ‘Raja Harishchandra’ in 1913, India’s first feature film. Interestingly, the female roles in the film were played by male actors. I could watch the film, courtesy PIFF and you can read more about the film here.

However India’s first feature film was made by Ram Chandra Gopal Torne (known as Dadasaheb Torne) named ‘Pundalik’. More about him and the film ‘Pundalik’ can be read at Wikipedia.

The film is based on time when British ruled India. Will this film fetch an Oscar for India or face the same fate as Lagaan?

ब्रिज ऑन द रिव्हर क्वाय-एक मनःपटलावरील युद्ध ५

पूर्व भाग

त्याला फांद्यांच्या स्ट्रेचरवर घालून शिअर्स निघतो. अखेर दूरवर पूल दृष्टिपथात येतो.

एक रात्र त्यांच्या हातात आहे. योजनेप्रमाणे काम सुरू होते. एका तराफ्यावर सामान टाकून जॉईस पुलाखाली सुरुंग लावण्याच्या कामावर निघतो. रात्रभर धुवांधार पाऊस पडतो. नदीचे पात्र फुगलेले; नदीच्या पलीकडच्या तीरावर एका खडकाआड सुरुंग उडविण्याचे यंत्र ठेवलेले.

त्याचवेळी पूर्ण झालेल्या पुलावर कठड्याला टेकून निकोल्सन चिंतनात मग्न! २८ वर्षांच्या नोकरीतील कारकीर्द डोळ्यांसमोर उभी. तिकडून सायटोही येतो. ‘उत्कृष्ट कलाकृती!’ म्हणून पुलाची स्तुती करतो. हे मान्य करायला खरं तर मनाला क्लेश होतात; पण सायटो हा काही खलनायक नाही. सर्व कैदी पूल पूर्ण झाल्याच्या जल्लोषात, त्यात गाण्यांचा आवाज, मध्येच पाण्याच्या वाहत्या प्रवाहाचा खळखळाट, पुलावर गस्तीचे आवाज आणि पुलाखाली त्याच्या विध्वंसाची चाललेली तयारी… क्षणभर प्रेक्षकांच्याही काळजाचा ठेका चुकतो.

आपल्या सैनिकांसमोर भाषण करताना निकोल्सन म्हणतो, “आपण घरी जाऊ, तेव्हा अपल्या या कामाचा आपल्याला मनातून अभिमान वाटेल. सैनिक आणि नागरिक, सर्वांना तुम्ही कामाचा आदर्श घालून दिला आहे. कैदेतही तुम्ही ताठ मानेने जगलात; त्यामुळ पराभवातही आपला विजय झाला आहे. मित्रांनो अभिनंदन!”

सकाळ उजाडते. पहिली आगगाडी पुलावरून जाणार – जाईस पूल उडविण्यास सज्ज! पण हाय! आता पाऊस थांबल्याने पाणी ओसरलेले. सुरुंग लावून तीरावर आणलेली वायर स्पष्ट दिसते आहे, वरून कुणाच्या लक्षात आलं तर… सगळ्यांच्या हृदयाचा ठेका चुकतो आणि नेमकं तसंच घडतं.

पुलाची अखेरची पाहणी करायला आलेल्या निकोल्सनच्या नजरेला ती पडतेच. काहीतरी काळंबेरं आहे हे लेक्षत येऊन सायटोला घेऊन तो खाली येतो. वायर हातात घेऊन पैलतीरावर पोहोचतो. आगगाडी पुलावर येऊन ठेपते अन् शिअर्सने लेलेल्या हल्ल्याने लडखडणारा निकोल्सन सुरुंग पेटविण्याच्या दांड्यावर पडतो. ज्या हातांनी पुलाचं स्वप्न साकारलं,  त्याच हातांनी एका क्षणात ते छिन्नविछिन्न होतं. पत्त्यांचा बंगला कोसळावा तसा स्फोटांच्या आवाजात पूल कोसळतो. केवढी ही दैवदुर्गती! डॉ. क्लिप्टन दुरून हे पाहातोय, विदीर्ण मनाने! तर मेजर वॉर्डन वेगळ्याच भावनेने!

माणसाच्या व्यक्तिमत्त्वाचे तसेच त्याच्या स्वभावाचे अनेक कंगोरे उत्कृष्टरित्या दाखवणारा हा चित्रपट.