Filmmaker Raam Reddy’s award-winning Kannada film “Thithi” on Thursday kickstarted the fifth edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) with a screening to a packed house here.

The opening of the four-day long film festival was attended by Himachal Pradesh Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma, among other dignetaries.

“Thithi”, which earlier won various honours at 68th Locarno International Film Festival, Marrakech International Film Festival, 19th Shanghai International Film Festival and 63rd National Film Awards, is a dramatic comedy about how three generations of sons react to the death of the oldest in their clan, a man named Century Gowda — a locally renowned, highly cantankerous 101-year-old man.

Not only the film give a perfect start to the cultural and independent film festival, but it also witnessed a packed house in the Tibetan Children’s Village here.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was supposed to attend the opening ceremony, but was forced to leave for Delhi due to bad health, said filmmaker Ritu Sarin, who curates the festival along with her husband Tenzing Sonam.

“I welcome you all on behalf of the Chief Minister, who was scheduled to be here, but had to change his schedule at last minute for a meeting in Delhi,” said Sharma who came instead.

“Slowly and steadily this film festival is growing every year. I want to assure the organisers that the government of Himachal Pradesh is ready to help them in every way possible for this festival,” he added.

The end of the movie was marked by a loud applause by the audience which included independent filmmakers, critics, local audience, tourists and movie aficionados.

Presented in collaboration with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, the festival is also supported by the Himachal Pradesh government and the National Film Development Corporation of India.

DIFF 2016 will feature 43 films in total from 21 countries including Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Germany, Bhutan among others.

The festival will come to an end with 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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