India Rolls Out Red Carpet to Global Filmmakers

admin   June 23, 2020

India is committed to welcome the global film community to come and do business in the country and work closely with the domestic media and entertainment industry, said Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javdekar at the e-inauguration of the India Pavilion at the 61st Cannes Film Market.

Amidst the pandemic of coronavirus, the Government of India has committed to welcome the global film community to come and do business in India and work closely with the domestic media and entertainment industry. This message was conveyed by Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javdekar at the e-inauguration of the India Pavilion at the 61st Cannes Film Market, virtually attended by over 2000 film industry professionals across the globe.

Calling cinema the “soft power” of India, Javadekar said his Ministry is continuously working towards making India as film shooting and film friendly destination for the audiovisual sector. “Our Film Facilitation Office has facilitated over 80 foreign film shootings. Now, it will function as a single window for all Central and State government permissions. I appeal to the global film fraternity, to come invest and shoot in India.”

In a clear message that the ‘show must go on’, the global filmmaking community and industry professionals were conveyed that the 51st edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will take place between November 20-28 later this year. Javadekar also unveiled the poster and the booklet for the IFFI 2020.

Adopting the new normal, and to keep the ethos of the virtual Indian participation at Cannes alive, the Indian Pavillion is expected to be buzzing with activities around co-production, film shooting in India, exports of Indan films and content, post production and networking. The Pavillion will facilitate B2B meetings and linkages between filmmakers and other media and entertainment industries stake holders (June 22-26, 2020).

Over a dozen dignitaries participated at the e-inauguration of the India Pavilion at the virtual Cannes Film Market. Over 90 Indian industry professionals representing 60 companies are part of the virtual Cannes film market.

In his address to the global film community, Amit Khare, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India announced that along with the Indian film industry, centenary celebration of legendary filmmaker Satyjit Ray will be celebrated at the Cannes Film Festival 2021 showcasing a retrospective of the iconic filmmaker. The 74th Edition of Cannes Film Festival is slated for May 14-25, 2021. It was announced earlier that IFFI 2020 and IFFI 2021 will pay tribute to legendary filmmaker of India Satyajit Ray.

Atul Kumar Tiwari, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, in his opening remarks invited global film community to block their diaries to attend the 51st Edition of IFFI (November 20-28, 2020).

Michèle Waterhouse, Head of Coordination, Cannes Film Market said Marché du Film Online 2020 Edition is a a milestone in the history of the film industry. “It has been a difficult time for all with Covid-19 and the future remains rocky but we are here together and we thank all of you who have supported us in this endeavour. Together we are a strong force and we will continue to move forward to give Indian cinema its due place in the world,” said Waterhouse. India has been participating at the Cannes Film Market for over 20 years.

Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), moderated the inauguration of the India Pavilion and said the both physical and virtual markets are here to stay in the coming years and industry has to adopt to the changing needs. FICCI is managing the virtual India Pavilion at the online Cannes Film Market under the aegis of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India.

Shrila Dutta Kumar, Minister (Consular) Embassy of India to France assured assistance to the stakeholders of Indian film industry representatives to promote cooperative ventures with France in the area of film co-production and visas.

“We are going through very tough times and people have started seeing cinema in a different way, like how they are seeing their life differently. People will change the way they consume media. Our films have to delve in newer and fresher subjects,” said Prasoon Joshi, Lyricist and Chairman, CBFC.

Joshi maintained that cinema is an essential medium. “We say human being is a social animal. When did human become social?. Somewhere social needs became part of your life and over the years generations cinema has got hardwired into an essential medium… there will be a need for entertainment in some way or other”.

Other dignitaries including Madhur Bhandarkar, National Award-winning Director, D Suresh Babu, National Representative, Active Telugu Filmmakers Guild, Colin Burrows, Special Treats Productions, Kangana Ranaut, film personality, Usha Jadhav, Actor, Mai Ghat spoke at the India Pavilion inauguration.

TCA Kalyani, Joint Secretary (Films) Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and MD, National Film Development Corporation thanked dignitaries in her vote of thanks.

Featured Post

A Ray That Still Lights The Way

admin   June 22, 2020

by Saibal Chatterjee

Nearly three decades after his passing, Satyajit Ray’s relevance hasn’t dimmed a bit. In fact, as more and more contemporary Indian filmmakers seek to make renewed global inroads, Ray is the perfect role model.

After all, he combined in his remarkable body of work the twin virtues of cultural veracity and universal accessibility. He, therefore, belonged as much to India as he did to the world. Efforts to replicate his scale of international success and recognition continue in the land of his origin, but true, sustained triumph eludes his successors.

In his centenary year, Ray remains a constant presence in our midst, reminding us of the intrinsic capacity of the medium to capture the essence of life in its cultural specificities and yet communicate with people all around the world. His epochal first film, Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road), won a major prize in Cannes in 1956 and put Indian cinema on the global map.

Indian and world cinema have moved on since Pather Panchali redefined the parameters of the medium, but the master’s all-pervasive influence continues to impact our films and filmmakers to this day.

Born on May 2, 1921, the multi-talented Ray – filmmaker, writer, music composer, graphic artist, illustrator, and designer – was a master storyteller and a consummate craftsman. What set him apart, however, was his masterly ability to achieve a seamless mix of content and technique, an attribute that a lot of Indian filmmakers of the new millennium would do well to keep in mind. Flamboyance sans depth and substance is a completely useless quality to aspire for.

Ray once told an interviewer, “I feel that an ordinary person – the man in the street, if you like – is a more challenging subject for exploration than people in the heroic mould. It is the half shades, the hardly audible notes that I want to capture and explore… In any case, I find muted emotions more interesting and challenging.” His cinema spoke to all of us because, no matter where in the world we lived, it was about all of us. His humanism was all-pervasive.

Veteran film critic Chidananda Dasgupta, wrote in his book, The Cinema of Satyajit Ray: “Seldom has a film director’s work chronicled the process of social change in a country over as long a span of time as Satyajit Ray’s. The subjects of his films range over the shifting social scene in India for over one hundred and fifty years (at the time of the book’s publication). Devi (The Goddess, 1960) is placed in the 1830s. Shatranj Ke Khilari (The Chess Players, 1977) in the 1850s. Charulata (1964) is laid in 1879, Jalsaghar (The Music Room, 1958) at the turn of the century, the Apu trilogy in the early years of the 20th century. Sadgati (The Deliverance, 1981) was written by Premchand in the 1930s about an unspecified, as it were timeless, period. Ashani Sanket (Distant Thunder, 1973) deals with the British-made wartime famine of 1943; besides, he of course made a host of contemporary films.”

Ray’s contemporary films – Abhijan (The Expedition, 1962), Mahanagar (The Big City, 1963), Aranyer Din Ratri (Days and Nights in the Forest, 1969), Seemabaddha (Company Limited, 1971), and Jana Aranya (The Middleman, 1975), among others – present a vivid portrait of a society and a culture in flux. No filmmaker has ever caught the nuances of this process of change and its impact on human beings quite with the same felicity. The effortlessness was obviously misleading. Nothing that Ray did was ever chance-directed.

Few filmmakers in the annals of cinema have had as much control over the medium as Ray. He wrote the screenplay, handpicked the cast, directed the film, scored the music, operated the camera, did the production design, contributed actively to the editing of his films, and even designed his own credit titles and publicity material. Cinema is a collective art form. A film is the result of teamwork. In Ray’s case, however, the medium came closer than ever to being a means of pure personal expression.

Providing a glimpse into his approach to cinema, Ray wrote in an article published in March 1952: “In the thirty years of its existence the Bengali film as a whole has not progressed one step towards maturity. Looking over the past three or four years one comes across a handful of commendable efforts… a bare dozen altogether, none entirely successful and satisfactory but each containing passages of acting, direction, writing or photography which, if sustained, would make for respectable cinema. As for the others (the overwhelming majority), they bear the same relation to art as do the lithographs in Wellington Square to the art of painting… These films neither stimulate the sensibilities, nor please the senses.”

The freshness evident in Pather Panchali probably stems from the fact that all the major technicians who worked on the film, including Ray himself, came to the project with little or no experience. Ray was no more than a film lover at that point, his cameraman Subrata Mitra had never shot a film before, art director Bansi Chandragupta had cut his teeth on The River, and for editor Dulal Dutta, Pather Panchali was only the third film. Pather Panchali rescued Indian cinema from the confines of studio sets and set it free into the wide, unexplored expanse of real locations.

Satyajit Ray and Pather Panchali altered the face of Indian cinema forever. Sixty-five years on, Ray’s debut film – and the rest of his work – remain a benchmark and a beacon that inspire those blessed with the courage to break free from stale habits.


Beginning with the ninth edition of the Cannes Film Festival (1956), where his debut film Pather Panchali won the Prix du Document Humain, the Indian maestro travelled to the Croisette on several occasions in subsequent years. He had three more titles in the Cannes Competition – Parash Pathar (1958), Devi (1962) and GhareBaire (1984) – besides Ganashatru (1989) in the Special Screenings section. In 2013, one his greatest films, Charulata, was screened in Cannes Classics.

Pather Panchali is as much a part of Indian cinema folklore as it is of the Cannes Film Festival’s own history. In 1956, it won the Best Human Document Award, narrowly losing the Palme d’Or race to the French documentary Le Monde du Silence (The Silent World), directed by Louis Malle and famed oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. It was a year of heavy-hitters in the Cannes Competition, with the likes of Ingmar Bergman (Smiles of a Summer Night, which also won a Special Award), Akira Kurosawa (I Live in Fear) and Alfred Hitchcock (The Man Who Knew Too Much) going head to head. It was also the year when Henri-Georges Clouzot, known for his seminal French thrillers, landed a Special Jury Award for his Picasso documentary, Le Mystere Picasso (The Mystery of Picasso).The jury was headed by French actor-director-producer Maurice Lehmann.

Featured Post

IFFI Matters @ 50

admin   August 28, 2019

Facilitating the meeting of evolving global film industry aiming to build sustainable ties amongst cultures, and consequently societies, the International Film Festival of India, the oldest event of its kind in Asia which will celebrate its Golden Jubilee edition in November, continues to retain its preeminent position owing to its size, scope and vintage

The International Film Festival of India (IFFI), the oldest event of its kind
in Asia, has over the years witnessed numerous alterations in character,
nomenclature, location, dates and duration. Through it all, it has remained
steadfast in its emphasis on showcasing the diversity of Indian cinema
as well as in its commitment to the celebration of excellence across moviemaking genres.

As India gears up to celebrate the Golden Jubilee edition of IFFI on November 20-28, 2019, this time plans are afoot to trace the history of 49 editions of the festival. The film festival will also showcase the film culture of each and every region across India. Alongside IFFI, Indian Cinema has also expanded to more than 25 regional languages, 50th IFFI will also showcase this unprecedented growth. The key sections at IFFI will include International Competition, Festival Kaleidoscope, World Panorama, Indian Panorama, Masterclasses, In-conversations, Special Retrospectives, Homages, Open Air Screenings, Film Bazaar, organized by NFDC, etc.

American cinematographer and film director known for his collaborations with directors Paul Schrader, Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Apted, and Ken Kwapis will be attending the IFFI Centenary Celebrations. He was till
recently the President of Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

The Ministry of Information & Broad-casting has extended invitation to delegates at the 44th Toronto International Film Festival to attend IFFI.

“IFFI is India’s pride. This year’s IFFI is especially significant since it marks the Golden Jubilee Edition,” says Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Russia will be the focus country at the 50th Edition of IFFI.

Business Exhibitions to display relevant technologies for films and an exhibition marking the 150th Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi will also be organized with this year’s Festival.The number of private theatres taken
on board for showing films during the festival will be further increased
to cater to the high demand for extra screening of popular films.

Goa Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant said that organization of 50th IFFI is a proud moment for the state and his government would leave no stones unturned to ensure top notch infrastructure and hospitality arrangement to make this edition of the festival a memorable one.

With interactions from all around the world, IFFI stands today as a confident body of knowledge, with great memories archived in its heart. It holds gleaming memories of global art, evolving on theatre screens and shadows of visionaries behind it.

The festival also facilitates the meeting of evolving global film industry aiming to build sustainable ties amongst cultures, and consequently societies. The 50th edition, therefore, also plans to create numerous co-production opportunities in various aspects of film production.

Over the past two and a half decades, several other international film festivals have sprung up across India, notably in Kolkata, Kerala and Mumbai, and they all contribute meaningfully to the collective task of taking quality cinema to a people weaned principally on a staple diet of star-driven, song and dance extravaganzas. But IFFI continues to retain its preeminent position owing to its size, scope and vintage.

Not just in the Indian context but also in relation to other major Asian film festivals, IFFI matters. And this is despite all the inevitable ups and downs that it has seen over the years.

All the other major Asian festivals – Tokyo, Busan and Shanghai – are of far more recent origin and therefore lack the history that is associated with IFFI. The festival in Tokyo was launched in 1985, the one in Shanghai began in 1993 and the Busan Film Festival came into being in 1996.

IFFI hands out prize money to the tune of US$ 200,000. The winner of the Golden Peacock for the best film takes home $80,000. That apart, the best director and the Special Jury Prize winner bag $30,000 each, while the two acting prizes come with a cash component of $20,000 each.

IFFI also confers two Lifetime Achievement Awards – one to an international film personality, the other to an Indian great. The moves to push IFFI up a few notches have unfolded since the coastal state of Goa became its permanent venue in 2004. IFFI now has a far more settled feel than ever before, with each improvement in terms of infrastructure and programming initiatives adding value to both the event and the location.

On the programming side, IFFI not only unveils the best films from around the multilingual country with the aim of providing a glimpse of the sheer range and dynamism of Indian cinema, it also puts together a remarkable slate of brand new world cinema titles.

IFFI also hosts many retrospectives, tributes, master classes and special sections, which enhance the variety and depth of the event. The master classes have emerged as a highlight of the festival, especially for film school students who converge in Goa during the ten-day event.

India’s first international film festival was organized within five years of the nation attaining Independence. It was a non-competitive event held in 1952 in Bombay (Now Mumbai). A special feature of the inaugural function was the screening of the first film screened in India in 1896 by the Lumiere brothers. Frank Capra was part of the American delegation that attended the festival.

After a fortnight-long run in Bombay, the festival travelled to Calcutta (now Kolkata), Madras (now Chennai) and Delhi. The first international film festival of India is rightfully credited with triggering a burst of creativity in Indian cinema by exposing young Indian filmmakers to the best from around the world, especially to Italian neo-realism.

It isn’t without significance that Satyajit Ray’s first film, Pather Panchali, was completed in 1955, and Bimal Roy’s classic Hindi film, Do Bigha Zameen, was released in 1953.

Six decades on, IFFI continues to provide a useful platform to young Indian filmmakers who work outside the mainstream distribution and exhibition system and in languages that do not have access to the pan-Indian market that Hindi cinema has.

The Indian Panorama, a section that is made up of both features and non-features, opens global avenues for films made by veterans and newcomers alike.

It wasn’t until 1961 that the second edition of the festival, also non-competitive and hosted by Delhi, was mounted, but the idea of an itinerant festival had been sown.

In 1965, the year of its third edition, the festival secured ‘A’ category grading from the Paris-based FIAPF (Federation Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films), which brought it on par with the world’s biggest festivals in Venice, Cannes, Berlin, Moscow and Karlovy Vary.

For three decades from the mid-1970s, the festival was held every alternate year in the national capital of Delhi, with other Indian cities – Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram – taking turns to host the event every other year.

IFFI now has a permanent home in Goa. The coastal state has benefitted appreciably from the shift. Its cinema has received a huge fillip in the decade and a half that Panaji has hosted IFFI. Filmmakers in the coastal state have been increasingly making their mark on the national and international stage.