The fifth edition of the Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) came to an end on Sunday with the screening of National Award-winning filmmaker Vetrimaaran’s Tamil drama “Visaranai”, which has been named as India’s official entry for Oscars 2017 in the Foreign Language Film category.
Produced by popular actor Dhanush under his banner Wunderbar Films, “Visaranai” features Dinesh, Samuthirakani, Ajay Ghosh and Kishore in the lead.
Based on the novel “Lock Up” by auto-rickshaw driver-turned-writer M. Chandrakumar, the film is about organised crime within the police force. It also throws the spotlight on police brutality.
The film witnessed a packed house in the Tibetan Children’s Village here. It struck the right chords with the audience, which included independent filmmakers, critics, local audience, tourists and movie aficionados.
The end of the film was marked by a loud applause and a standing ovation by the audience.
The four-day festival began with the screening of filmmaker Raam Reddy’s award-winning Kannada film “Thithi” on November 3 and screened 43 films in total from 21 countries including the US, Britain, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Germany and Bhutan among others.
Taking place in the scenic locales of McLeod Ganj in Himachal Pradesh, DIFF 2016 — organised by filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam — showcased a collection of films that were diverse in theme, style and genre.
These included “Didi Contractor: Marrying the Earth to the Building” — a documentary by Swiss director Steffi Giaracuni, and Vietnamese director Nguyen Trinh Thi’s “Vietnam The Movie”, which had their world premieres at the festival.
Few of the other films that were screened included Singaporean director Boo Junfeng’s “Apprentice”, Iranian director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s “Sonita” British documentary filmmaker Sean McAllister’s “A Syrian Love Story” and US filmmaker Mickey Lemle’s “The Last Dalai Lama'”.
From the Indian turf, DIFF 2016 featured National Award-winning actor Girish Kulkarni’s Marathi road drama “Highway”, director Bauddhayan Mukherji’s “The Violin Player”, Rajeev Ravi’s Malayalam action thriller “Kammatipaadam”, former CBFC CEO Pankaja Thakur’s short film “The Guide”, Gurvinder Singh’s short film “Infiltrator”, Chaitanya Tamhane’s “Six Strands” and ace filmmaker Anurag Kashyap‘s short film “That Day After Every Day” among others.
“We’ve had amazing audiences who are really interested in independent cinema. It’s really heart-warming to see that,” Sarin said.
Apart from these highly appreciated films, the festival also included few panel discussions and special chat sessions with veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah and veteran screenwriter and filmmaker Saeed Mirza.
Filmmakers and movie buffs are now in anticipation of an assemblage of diverse independent cinema in the next edition of the movie gala.
(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