The fifth edition of the Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF), where films from 21 countries are being screened, doesn’t have any Pakistani film in its line up. The organisers feel that getting filmmakers from that side of the border is “hard” due to the problems going on between the two nations.

DIFF 2016, which started with filmmaker Raam Reddy’s internationally acclaimed film “Thithi” on Thursday, will screen 43 films from countries like South Korea, Britain, Poland, Singapore, France, Germany and Hong Kong among others.

While DIFF screened Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi’s “Zinda Bhaag” in 2014, there isn’t any Pakistani film this year.

The reason behind that, filmmaker Ritu Sarin, who organises DIFF along with her husband Tenzing Sonam, told IANS: “We don’t take entries in DIFF. It’s a curated festival. So actually we didn’t have any Pakistani film that we saw this year. It was not a part of our process at all.”

However, Sarin pointed out that due to the current situation between India and Pakistan, it would be difficult for filmmakers to travel across the border.

“Last to last year we had a Pakistani film. The response was really good. So, if we have a recommendation for a Pakistani film then we will definitely show it. This year we really didn’t see any,” she said.

She added: “In our case we didn’t see any film that we wanted to add to our list for this year. But I think for Pakistani filmmakers to get visas to come to India, that is really hard in the current situation between the two nations.

“I generally believe that films, art and literature allows you to move beyond borders. We can tell stories that people across border can understand. There is a human element to it.”

Earlier this year, Pakistani classic “Jago Hua Savera” was supposed to be screened at the Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star. However the organisers scrapped the plans citing the “current situation” between the two nations as the reason behind the decision.

The film was to be screened as part of the Restored Classics Section of the event.

In fact, there won’t be any Pakistani film screening at the upcoming 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

DIFF 2016 will come to an end with the screening of National Award-winning filmmaker Vetrimaaran’s critically acclaimed Tamil drama “Visaranai” (Interrogation), which is India’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the upcoming 89th Academy Awards.

(The writer’s trip to Dharamsala is at the invitation of the Dharamshala International Film Festival organisers. Sandeep Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])

By Sandeep Sharma

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