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Delhi Christian Chorus stages annual Christmas concerts

DCC Director Royall S Mclaren
DCC Director Royall S Mclaren

The Delhi Christian Chorus (DCC) rang in the Christmas season in the capital with its annual concerts "Music for Christmas" at the beautiful Cathedral Church of the Redemption on Sunday evening.

As in the past, the 47-member chorus staged two shows, at 4 pm and 6.30 pm, before packed houses. The chorus was conducted by its director Royall S McLaren, with Lydia Joan Thomas on the piano.

The evening's fare included classical pieces by J S Bach, Giovanni Pergolesi and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, traditional spirituals such as The Cradle Rocks in Glory, an African Noel, a Hindi song, Raat Andheri Door Kahein, and of course, the all-time favourite Silent Night.

Soloist Marilyn Thomas came up with a powerful rendition of Bach's Prepare Thyself Zion (translated into English by Rev J Trontbeck).

Other highlights of the evening included community singing of O Come, All Ye Faithful, We Three Kings and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and a Jingle Bells spectacular Dashing Through the Snow by James Pierpont.

The Delhi Christian Chorus - Christmas 2009.
The Delhi Christian Chorus - Christmas 2009.

As in every year since 1965, the concert closed with The Lord Bless and Keep You, a sung version of an ancient Hebraic-Christian prayer.

Others who accompanied the singers were Fr Francis Gonsalves on the violin, Christine Marques on the flute, Bazil Jude Rosario on the rhythm guitar, Sony Jacob on bass guitar, Sudhir Devadas on the drums, Samuel Thomas on the keyboard and Grace Chandrasekaran as the guest pianist.

The pianist Lydia Joan Thomas.Flautist Christine Marques and Violinist Fr. Francis Gonsalves.Soloist Marilyn Thomas.
The pianist Lydia Joan Thomas; Flautist Christine Marques and Violinist Fr. Francis Gonsalves; Soloist Marilyn Thomas.

For the DCC, this was its 44th annual concert, having started as a group of enthusiastic singers way back in 1965. The following year it presented its first independent programme of Easter Music under the direction of Dr Richard R Smyth, who was then the Presbyter in-charge of the Centenary Methodist Chruch on Lodi Road.

Since then, the DCC has unfailingly presented three concerts of sacred classical and modern music every year, two at Christmas time and one during the Lent and Easter period.

The Delhi Christian Chorus - Christmas 2009.
The Delhi Christian Chorus - Christmas 2009.

Over the years, the Chorus' repertoire has grown into more than 1000 choral pieces of all kinds -- from the works of traditional, modern, very modern, folk, spiritual and classical composers.

More than anything else, the DCC has also provided a platform for talented singers and musicians. The soloists are drawn from the chorus itself and talented youngsters are given a chance to play the instruments. Membership is voluntary and the singers in the chorus are drawn from various churches of Delhi, across denominations. Over the past 40-odd years, more than 750 singers from all parts of India and many countries have sung for the chorus at different times. Some of the DCC singers are leaders of their church choirs now.

Funds raised by the chorus through patrons, donors and sponsors are given away for charitable purposes to organisations working for the poor, sick, aged and other needy.

After Rev Smyth and his wife Sylvia returned to the United States some years ago, the mantle of leading the DCC has fallen on McLaren.

We three Kings of Orient Are!
We three Kings of Orient Are!

McLaren, 71, did his schooling in Delhi's United Christian School and completed his M.A. in History from St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi.

He was an ardent sportsman in his school days and played in inter-school cricket tournaments in the capital. Later, he was a member of the Indian Airlines cricket team.

McLaren took to music as a hobby in his school days and while still in his first year at college, used to direct the local church choir. He also played the organ in the same church for several years. At one stage, he was singing for seven choirs in Delhi, which meant attending practice sessions almost all days of the week. He also sang for choirs at the international level.

Gold I Bring To Crown Him Again!
Gold I Bring To Crown Him Again!

McLaren says all his knowledge about music is self-taught, having never had the privilege of formal training. But years of experience in sacred music has brought him to this level.

In his professional career, he joined national carrier Indian Airlines as an associate and rose to the rank of Deputy General Manager. His various postings in India and abroad gave him the exposure that today holds him in good stead in his current assignment. Today, he is fully dedicated to Christian music and wants to see the DCC celebrate its Golden Jubilee in six years from now.

The Delhi Christian Chorus -- Christmas Concert 2009.
The Delhi Christian Chorus --the Christmas Concert 2009.

The Easter Concert of the DCC is scheduled for March 28 at the Free Church on Parliament Street in the city.

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Photos courtesy Delhi Christian Chorus.

Govt. sets up panels to revamp National Film Awards, IFFI

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has set up two Expert Committees for revamping and upgradation of the National Film Awards and the International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

The Expert Committee for National Film Awards will include Shyam Benegal, Ashok Vishwanathan, Rajiv Mehrotra, Vishal Bhardwaj, Nagesh Kuknoor, Mohan Agashe, Jahnu Baruah, Shaji Karun, Sai Paranjape, Sharmila Tagore and Waheeda Rehman.

The Director of Film Festivals will also be a member while the Joint Secretary (Films), Ministry of Information & Broadcasting will be the Member-Secretary of the Committee.

The Committee shall make recommendations regarding upgradation of National Film Awards for Feature, Non-Feature and Best Writing on Cinema and the Dada Saheb Phalke Award and the resultant changes to be made in the regulations thereto. The Committee shall elect a Chairperson from among the Members in its first meeting, anofficial press release said.

The Committee constituted for IFFI consists of Govind Nihalani, Karan Johar, Pritish Nandy, Prasoon Joshi, Kamal Hasan, A.K.Bir, Laxmikant Shetgaonkar, C.S.Sapra, Shabana Azmi, Pooja Shetty Deora, Kishwar Desai, Maithili Rao and Nandita Das.

The Committee also has Chief Secretary, Government of Goa, which is the permanent venue of IFFI, and the Director of Film Festivals. The Joint Secretary (Films) in the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting will be the Member-Secretary.

The Committee shall make recommendations regarding upgradation of International Film Festival of India on the lines of other reputed International Festivals and the resultant changes to be made in the Regulations thereto. The Committee shall also make recommendations regarding the changes to be made in the selection of Indian Panorama films, both feature and non-feature categories, and resultant changes to be made in the Indian Panorama Regulations. The Committee shall elect a Chairperson from among the Members in the first meeting.

Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni had, soon after assuming office earlier this year, said that the National Film Awards, instituted by the Government in 1954, needed to be reinvented as there had been major changes in the aspirations as well as technological growth in film-making.

Similarly, she felt that IFFI needed to be profiled higher to be recognised as one of the best film festivals in the world, compared to those held every year in Cannes, Berlin and other venues.

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Asif Mehdi to perform in Delhi, 3 other cities

Well-known Pakistani singer Asif Mehdi, son of the legendary ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan, will perform in Delhi for the first time tomorrow along with the renowned Jagjit Singh.

The show has been organised by Routes 2 Roots and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). A book of Urdu poetry "Mere Kal ka Savera" by Surinder Malik "Gumnaam" will be released on the occasion.

Asif will also perform alongside other well-known Indian singers in Hyderabad, Lucknow and Amritsar on December 13, 15 and 17. The singer is known to sing in the style made famous by his father and has to his credit successful performances all over the world.

In Hyderabad, Asif will perform with the versatile duo of Bhupinder and Mitali, with Ghulam Sabir in Lucknow and with Ustad Ahmad Hussain and Ustad Mohammed Hussain in Amritsar.

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Taiwanese film "I Can't Live Without You" wins Golden Peacock at IFFI

Governor of Goa, S.S. Sidhu presenting the Golden Peacock to Leon Dai, Director of the film ‘I Can’t Live Without You’ at the closing ceremony of the 40th IFFI-2009 at Panaji, Goa on December 03, 2009.
Governor of Goa, S.S. Sidhu presenting the Golden Peacock to Leon Dai, Director of the film ‘I Can’t Live Without You’ at the closing ceremony of the 40th IFFI-2009 at Panaji, Goa on December 03, 2009.

The Taiwanese film "I Can't Live Without You", directed by Leon Dai, won the coveted Golden Peacock Award for the Best Film at the 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI 2009) which drew to a close in Goa this evening.

The Silver Peacock for the Best Director went to Ounie Lecomte for the South Korean film "A Brand New Life". The Special Jury Award went to "The Other Bank" from Georgia.

The Golden Peacock Award has a cash prize of Rs 40 lakh. Apart from the Golden Peacock, director Leon Dai received Rs 20 lakh and a certificate from Goa Governor S S Sidhu.

Malayalam superstar Mammootty was the Chief Guest at the closing ceremony, while Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting S Jagathrakshakan and Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat were amongst those present at the function.

The producer of "I Can't Live Without You" got Rs 20 lakhs and a certificate. The award was collected on his behalf by the lead actorof the film Wen-Pin Chen.

Based on real life characters, the film is the sensitive story of a father and his seven-year-old daughter who face separation due to bureaucratic red tape. The movie revolves around the subtle portrayal of the anxiety and the predicament of the central character and his relentless efforts to ensure that he does not lose his daughter, who is told that her legal guardians are her mother and the man she is legally married to.

The Silver Peacock Award, including a cash element of Rs 15 lakh and a certificate, was presented to Ounie Lecomte, the director of South Korean film for capturing the sentiments of a nine year old girl, given by her father to an orphanage for adoption, and her everlasting hope to see him again.

"The Other Bank", the Special Jury Award winner captures on celluloid the dangerous journey a 12-year boy embarks upon to find his father in the breakaway Republic of Abkhazia in Georgia, an enemy land.

The winners were chosen by a five-member jury from the 15 entries in the Competition Section of the festival from Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, China/UK, Georgia/Kazakhstan, Iran, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, South Korea/France, Sri Lanka and Taiwan as well as two films from India. The competition jury was headed by the noted Brazilian director Joao Batista de Andrade. Other members of the jury were Kenichi Okubu (Japan), Jean-Michel Frodon (France), Sarika (India) and Vic Sarin (Canada).

The 11-day event concluded today with the screening of the Spanish film "The Broken Embraces" directed by Pedro Almodovar.

Chief Guest and renowned film actor Mamooty presenting the Best Director’s award to Ms. Ounie Lecomte for her film ‘A Brand New Life’, at the closing ceremony of the 40th IFFI-2009, at Panaji, Goa on December 03, 2009.
Chief Guest and renowned film actor Mamooty presenting the Best Director’s award to Ms. Ounie Lecomte for her film ‘A Brand New Life’, at the closing ceremony of the 40th IFFI-2009, at Panaji, Goa on December 03, 2009.

Dr Sidhu hoped that IFFI, with Goa now as the permanent venue, would reach the level of the Cannes, Toronto and Berlin Film Festivals. He said cinema was a throbbing medium replicating human hopes and is a commercially viable industry which offers opportunties for artistic and creative engagement as well as for employment.

Mammootty said that the Indian film industry had become big not only in quantity but also in terms of quality. He said cinema had a "human languague" that was spoken by the entire film industry in the country even though it had some diversity in terms of language, culture and tradition.

Mr Kamat said the state government wanted to develop Goa as a hub of the entertainment industry.

The festival had begun on November 23 with the screening of He Ping's "Wheat". In all, 300 films from 47 countries were screened during the festival.

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Amitabh Bachchan starrer "Paa" to release worldwide on Friday

Amitabh Bachchan in the movie 'Paa'.
Amitabh Bachchan in the movie 'Paa'.

"Paa", an Amitabh Bachchan starrer about the relationship between a man and his son who is suffering from progeria, a rare congenital abnormality characterised by premature and rapid aging, will release in 700 screens worldwide tomorrow.

The movie will release in 20 countries, including India, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

Produced by Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited (ABCL) and Sunil Manchanda, "Paa" is distributed by Big Pictures, a part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG).

Billed as a sensitive story about the relationship between a father and a son, the film features Amitabh Bachchan as Auro, a 13-year-old boy suffering from progeria. This means that though he is only 13, physically he looks five times older.

The film also stars Abhishek Bachchan as the father of Auro and a young politician. Vidya Balan plays Auro's mother. Others in the film include Paresh Rawal.

The family entertainer has been directed by R Balakrishnan (Balki), who had earlier made Cheeni Kum, also starring Amitabh Bachchan. The music has been scored by Illyaraja while the lyrics are by Swanand Kirkire. The cinematographer is P C Sreeram.

Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan in the movie 'Paa'.
Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan in the movie 'Paa'.

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International Film Festival of India opens in Goa

Chief Guest and noted film actress Waheeda Rehman lighting the lamp to inaugurate the 40th International Film Festival (IFFI-2009) at Kala Academy in Panaji, Goa on November 23, 2009. Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Ambika Soni, the Chief Minister of Goa, Digambar V. Kamat, film actress Asin and others are also seen..
Chief Guest and noted film actress Waheeda Rehman lighting the lamp to inaugurate the 40th International Film Festival (IFFI-2009) at Kala Academy in Panaji, Goa on November 23, 2009. Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Ambika Soni, the Chief Minister of Goa, Digambar V. Kamat, film actress Asin and others are also seen.

Well-known actress Waheeda Rehman inaugurated the 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) at Kala Bhavan in Panaji, Goa, this evening to launch an 11-day extravaganza that will see the screening of nearly 300 films from around the world at 10 venues.

The inaugural ceremony was followed by the screening of the opening film, the Chinese historical drama "Mai Tian" (Wheat) directed by He Ping.

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, Goa Chief Minister Digambar V Kamat, actress Asin and actors Nana Patekar and Kabir Bedi were amongst those present at the opening ceremony.

Mai Tian is set in 260 BC when China was mired in a long and bloody war between the Qin and the Zhao that could not be settled for decades. A Chinese warlord's wife led the town's women to guard the city while all the men went away for war. When two soldiers returned claiming to be natives, the true meaning of heroism was put to test.

He Ping was born in Shanghai, China. His earlier films include Kawashima Yoshiko (1989), Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker (1994), The Swordsmen in Double Flag Town (1991), Sun Valley (1995) and Warriors of Heaven & Earth (2004). Wheat (2009) is his most recent film. 

IFFI logo.
IFFI logo.

Nearly 6000 delegates and more than 300 journalists are attending this year's festival. Goa was made the permanent venue of IFFI a few years ago.

The festival has been divided into sections such as Film Programmes, Non-Film Programmes, Film Bazaar, Short Film Centre and Cultural Activities.

Ten auditoria and three preview rooms in Panaji and Margao will be used for the film programmes, the most popular sections of which are competitions for feature films from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Cinema of the World, Tributes, Homages, Retrospectives, Country Focus films, Indian Panorama and specially curated sectors.

The Cinema of the World section this year will showcase more than 55 films from around 47 countries. A specialized competition for feature films from Asia, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Africa is also being organized. Two Indian entries, Atanu Ghosh’s Bengali film “Angshumaner Chhobi” and Satish Manwar’s Marathi film “Gabricha Paus” have been selected in the “Competition Section” among 13 other films chosen from Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Kazakhstan, Iran, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, Sri-Lanka, Taiwan and Argentina.

The Competition jury is headed by noted Brazilian director Joao Batista de Andrade. Other members of the jury include Vic Sarin (Canada), Kenichi Okubu (Tokyo), Sarika (India) and Jean-Michel Frodon (France).

“Film India Worldwide” is another major attraction under this category, which will screen films produced by Non Resident Indians in collaboration with foreign filmmakers. Films from Croatia, Estonia, Italy, and Poland will be screened under the “Country Focus” section.

The films of Gurinder Chadha, Nonzee Nimibutr, Roland Reber and Manoel de Oliveira will be screened under “Foreign Retrospectives”. A special section will showcase renowned French films. Other sections include “War & Peace” and “Digital Section” that will screen a total of 11 films. Besides this, a special tribute would be paid to the much-accomplished Brazilian director as well as the head of the jury de Andrade.

The Indian Section would be under nine different segments with screening of 77 films. The Indian Panorama at IFFI 2009 would present a bouquet of 44 films, 26 feature films and 18 non-feature films. The section would have 6 Bengali, 5 Hindi, 3 Kannada, 3 Marathi, 3 Malayalam, 2 Tamil and one each in Rajasthani, Tulu, Konkani and English.

Three Bengali, 5 English, 4 Hindi, and one film each in Malayalam, Manipuri and Marathi have been chosen for the non-feature films segment.

“Paltadchomanis” (Dir: Laxmikant Shetganokar), a film in Konkani language will be the opening film of the Indian Panorama. The Panorama will be inaugurated by Ms Soni tomorrow.

Films like Angshumaner Chhobi, Antaheen, Dev D, Firaaq, Gabricha Paus, Harishchandrachi Factory are the highlights of the section.

The bouquet of non-feature films includes Bilal (Bengali), What If? (English), Superman of Malegaon (Hindi), Illisa Anagi Mahao (Manipuri) and Kelkkunnundo (Malayalam).

Dot in for Motion (Dir: Anirban Datta, English) will open the Non-Feature Film Section.

The Indian screenings would also feature Golden Jubilee Retros of Asha Parekh - Dil De Ke Dekho & Kati Patang (Hindi), Sharmila Tagore - Apur Sansar (Bengali) & Viruddh (Hindi) and Saumitra Chatterjee - Apur Sansar, Angshumaner Chhobi (Bengali).

The Tribute Section would offer homage to 13 film personalities who have passed away since IFFI 2008 -- Nabendu Chatterjee, Prakash Mehra, Gulshan Bawra, Leela Naidu, Shakti Samanta, Feroz Khan, Murali, A.K. Lohitadas, Rajan P. Dev, Nilu Phule, Bhaskar Chandavarkar, R. Lakshman and Nagesh.

Their films Parashuramer Kuthar (Bengali), Zanzeer (Hindi), Anuradha (Hindi), Aradhana (Hindi), Oonche Log (Hindi), Nizhalkuthu (Malayalam), Bhoothakkannady (Malayalam), Ente Mattykuttyam Makku, Saamna (Marathi), Bangarda Manushya (Kannada) and Server Sundaram (Tamil) will be screened.

Seventy Five years of Assamese Cinema are being celebrated by a special section featuring five films. Assamese film personalities Jahnu Barua, Gyanada Kakoti, Bidya Rao and Manju Bora would be present on the occasion.

Three Telugu musical hits -- Sankarabharanam (Dir: K. Vishwanath), Sagar Sangamam (Dir: K. Vishwanath) and Seethakoka Chilaka (Dir: Bharathi Rajaa) -- will be screened.

As a new initiative, “Goa as Celluloid Destination” has been added. Eight films of various languages shot in Goa will be screened.

The Films Division Section will also present a set of short films/ documentaries based on the Indian music maestros. For the first time, Malegaon industry of remakes gets an international platform with the screening of two of their films – Yeh Hai Malegaon Ka Superman and Gabbarbhai MBBS.

The Indian Premier Section will showcase a selection of eight films. They include “And Once Again” by Amol Palekar, “Red Alert: The War Within” by Ananth Mahadevan, “God Lives in the Himalayas” by Sanjay Srinivas, “Shahrukh Bola Khoobsoorat Hai” by Makran Deshpande and “Zagor“ by Sangramsinh Gaikwad.

Eminent columnist and film writer Kishwar Desai will present an audio visual lecture on Adaptation of Literature in Cinema by screening the film Teesri Kasam (Hindi). Animation and pixilation workshops will also be held.

The National Film Archives of India (NFAI) will exhibit around 300 posters from its collection during the festival. It will also put up a programme on Shambharik Kharolika, pre-cinema gadget that evolved in India 1885 comprising hand painted glass slides. These will be projected with narration, dialogues, lyrics and background music.

NFAI Vintage Musical Hits will feature a package of musical hits TANSEN- Hindi/1943/Jayant Desai, MEERA–Hindi/1945/ Ellis R.Duncan, ANDAZ–Hindi/1949/ Meboob Khan, ANARKALI–Hindi/1953/Nandlal Jaswantlal and GOONJ UTHI SHEHNAI – 1959/Vijay Bhatt.

NFA Gold will showcase Apur Sansar (Bengali) directed by Satyajit Ray and Do Ankhen Barah Haath (Hindi) directed by V. Shantaram.

National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) will organize a Film Bazaar on the sidelines of IFFI- 2009 from tomorrow to November 26. The Bazaar aims at creating opportunities for networking and business for producers, filmmakers and distributors from across the world.

The festival will end on December 3 with the presentation of Golden and Silver Peacock Awards for Best Film and Best Director, the Special Jury Awards as also the Vasudha and Golden Lamp Tree Awards for the short films. Malayalam superstar Mammootty will be the chief guest at the closing ceremony.

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Waheeda Rahman, Mammootty to be chief guests at IFFI 2009

Well-known actress of yesteryears Waheeda Rahman will be the chief guest at the opening ceremony while Malayalam superstar Mamootty will be the chief guest at the closing ceremony of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2009 beginning in Goa on November 23.

Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni will be present at the opening ceremony at which actress Asin would be a special guest for lighting the ceremonial lamp.

Internationally renowned actor Kabir Bedi and actress Divya Dutta would be the comperes at the opeing ceremony.

According to an official press release, the International Section of the festival includes Cinema of World which would have 55 films from 45 countries. Another important component of the section would be retrospectives of renowened directors Gurinder Chadha, Nonzee Nimabitur, Roland Reber, Joao Batista and Manoel De Olivera.

The continent Focus is Latin America this time and Country Focus would be on Croatia; Italy; Poland; Estonia and France.

Film India Worldwide is another attraction in the cinema of world section, which will showcase films made by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in collaboration with foreign filmmakers. There is also a section on Anti War Films.

The International Jury comprises prominent directors/actors/film critics from different part of the world -- Mr. Joao batista de Andrade – Chairman; Mr. Vic Sarin – Canada; Mr. Ken’ichi Okubo – Japan; Mr. Jean-Michel Frodon – France and Ms. Sarika from India.

In addition, as part of Indian Panorama, 26 feature films and 18 non-feature films would be screened. These include films such as Shob Charitro Kalponik (Bengali), Kaminey (Hindi), Harishchandrachi Factory (Marathi), Ijjodu (Kannada), Pasanga (Tamil), Kutty Srank (Malayalam) and Haat The Weekly Bazaar (Rajasthani). The bouquet of non-feature films includes Bilal (Bengali), What If? (English), Superman of Malegaon (Hindi), Illisa Anagi Mahao (Manipuri) and Kelkkunnundo (Malayalam).

The Indian Panorama would open with Paltadcho Manis (Dir: Laxmikant Shetganokar, Konkani) and Dot in for Motion (Dir: Anirban Datta, English).

The Tribute Section would offer homage to 13 film personalities who have passed away since IFFI 2008 -- Nabendu Chatterjee, Prakash Mehra, Gulshan Bawra, Leela Naidu, Shakti Samanta, Feroz Khan, Murali, A.K. Lohitadas, Rajan P. Dev, Nilu Phule, Bhaskar Chandavarkar, R. Lakshman and Nagesh.

Under NFA Gold, films of Satyajit Ray, V. Shantaram and Debaki Kumar Bose which have won the Best Feature Film awards almost half a century ago would be screened.

The 75 years of Assamese Cinema will be celebrated by a special section featuring five films. Assamese film personalities Jahnu Barua, Gyanada Kakoti, Bidya Rao and Manju Bora would be present on the occasion.

For the first time, Malegaon industry of remakes gets an international platform with the screening of two of their films – Yeh Hai Malegaon Ka Superman and Gabbarbhai MBBS.

Under Golden Jubilee Retro section, the sterling contributions of film personalities who have completed 50 years in the industry would be saluted. They are Asha Parekh, Sharmila Tagore and Saumitra Chatterjee. Kamal Hasan’s works will be showcased in February 2010 in Delhi.

Eminent columnist and film writer Kishwar Desai will deliver an audio visual lecture on Adaptation of Literature in Cinema by screening the film Teesri Kasam (Hindi).

The Indian Premier Section will showcase a selection of eight films, including "And Once Again" directed by Amol Palekar, "Red Alert: The War Within" by Ananth Mahadevan, "God Lives in the Himalayas" by Sanjay Srinivas, "Shahrukh Bola Khoobsoorat Hai" by . Makran Deshpande, "Zagor" by Sangramsinh Gaikwad and "Vimukthti" by Sheshadri.

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Paltadacho Munis to open Indian Panorama at IFFI

Konkani film Paltadacho Munis by Laxmikant Shetgaonkar will be the opening film of the Indian Panorama in the 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) that will be held in Goa from November 23 to December 3.

In all, the Indian Panorama will have 26 feature films and 18 non-feature films, an official press release said. In for Motion, an English film by Anirban Datta, will be the opening film in the non-feature section.

The feature films in the Panorama include Firaaq by actress-director Nandita Das, Anurag Kashyap's Dev D, Kaminey by Vishal Bhardwaj, Dibakar Banerjee's Oye Lucky-Lucky Oye and Ajiz Khan's The White Elephant, all in Hindi.

There are seven Bengali films: Aainaate by Dulal Dey, Angashumaner Chhobi by Atanu Ghosh, Antaheen by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Dwando by Suman Ghosh, Janala by Buddhadeb Dasgupta and Shob Charitra Kalponik by Rituparno Ghosh.

Sona Jain's For Real (English), Avantika Hari's Land Gold Women (English & Urdu) and Malayalam films Keshu by Sivan and Kutty Shrank by Shaji N Karun are also on the list.

The other feature films in the Panorama are P R Ramadasa Naidu's Beli Matthu Hola, M S Sathyu's Ijjodu, G Murthy's Shankara Punyokoti (all in Kannada), Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukhtankar's Ek Cup Chya, Satish Manwar's Gabhrjcha Paus and Paresh Mokashi's Harishchandra Factory (Marathi), Seema Kapoor's Haat the Weekly Bazaar (Rajasthani), Arun Vaidyanathan's Achchamundu Achchamundu, Pandi Raj's Pasanga (Tamil) and Shivadhwaj Shetty's Gaggara (Tulu).

The non-feature films include The First Leap by Haobam Pabankumar, The Latent City by Krishnendu Bose, The Prince and the Crown of Stones by Gautam Benegal and What If? by V K Prakash, all in English.

The others include Bilal by Sourav Sarangi (Bengali and Hindi), Ekti Kaktaliya Golpo by Tathagaba Sinha, I'm the Very Beautiful by Shyamal Kumar Karmakar (both Bengali), Boond by Abhishek Pathak, Chilika Banks by Akanksha Joshi, Kya Main Qafir Hoon by Sandhin Flora (Hindi), Supermen of Malegaon by Faiza Ahmad Khan (Hindi & Urdu), Swayambhu Sen Foresees His End by Debashish Medhkar (Hindi, Malayalam & English), When This Man Dies by Arun Sukumar (Hindi & English), Kelkunnudo by Geetu Mohan Das (Malayalam), Ilisa Amagi Mahao by Nighthouja Lancha in Manipuri, Vitthal byVinno Choliparambil (Marathi) and Nanam Oru Pen by V Ranganathan (Tamil).

The jury for the feature films in the Panorama is headed by film-maker Muzaffar Ali and includes Bobby Bedi, Joseph Pulinthanath, J Mahendran, Gautaman Bhaskaran, Leslie Carvalho and Raja Mitra.

The jury for the non-feature films is headed by Aribam Syam Sharma and includes Paromita Vohra, Pushpesh Pant, Sameer Hanchate and Kapilas Bhuyan.

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President confers 55th National Film Awards

President Pratibha Patil presenting the Dada Saheb Phalke 

Award for the year 2007 to the Playback Singer Manna Dey, at the 55th National Film Awards function, in New 

Delhi on October 21, 2009. Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni, the Ministers of State 

for Information and Broadcasting, Mohan Jatua and Dr. S. Jagathrakshakan and the Director, Directorate of Film 

Festivals S.M. Khan are also seen.
President Pratibha Patil presenting the Dada Saheb Phalke Award for the year 2007 to the Playback Singer Manna Dey, at the 55th National Film Awards function, in New Delhi on October 21, 2009. Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni, the Ministers of State for Information and Broadcasting, Mohan Jatua and Dr. S. Jagathrakshakan and the Director, Directorate of Film Festivals S.M. Khan are also seen.

President Pratibha Patil today conferred the 55th National Film Awards for 2007, including the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for lifetime achievement to eminent playback singer Manna Dey.

In all, 91 awardees received their Swarn and Rajat Kamals, along with cash awards, at the hands of the President at a glittering ceremony at Vigyan Bhavan here.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Patil said cinema should not only be a source of popular entertainment for families and individuals but also a vehicle of social change.

She said cinema had a deep impact on people as they watched how social evils like child marriage, dowry and drug addiction could destroy lives or how a good deed could bring out the gentler side of human beings.

She said cinema also helped people realise how they could help the disadvantaged and differently-abled to lead lives of dignity.

The President urged the film fraternity to understand this responsibility in its fullest sense.

Making a special mention of award winning child actor Sharad Goyekar for his role in the Marathi film Tingya, she hoped the award would inspire and motivate him to give greater expression to his talent. She also hoped it would inspire the boy and his family to work for good causes with conviction just like the character he has portrayed in the film.

According ot her, it was important for the entertainment sector to include value-based ideals and points of view which could motivate viewers to aspire for higher and nobler goals in their lives.

President Pratibha Patil presenting the Award 

for Best Direction to Adoor Gopalakrishnan for Malayalam film Naalu Pennungal, at the 55th National Film Awards 

function, in New Delhi on October 21, 2009.
President Pratibha Patil presenting the Award for Best Direction to Adoor Gopalakrishnan for Malayalam film Naalu Pennungal, at the 55th National Film Awards function, in New Delhi on October 21, 2009.

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said that, for a vast and culturally diverse country like India, it was essential that the cinematic ethos developed into a vibrant medium that cut across language barriers so as to evolve its own common language.

She said the awards had helped to bring many hidden talents to light and also encouraged films that otherwise might, perhaps, not have achieved national recognition.

Ms Soni said a panel of eminent persons would be constituted shortly to propose steps to make the National Film Awards truly reflect the pan-Indian spirit and suggest measures which would reflect the newer developments taking place in the field of cinema.

"There is a need to re-invent the National Film Awards to make them more contemporary," the Minister said.

Those who were honoured today included Priyadarshan, whose film Kanchivaram got the Best Feature Film Award and Prakash Raj, who won the Best Actor Award for his sensible multi-layered portrayal of a weaver caught in a web of silken threads woven by destiny.

Malayalam film-maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan won the Best Director for his feature film "Naalu Pennungal" (Four Women) for his delicate and subtle handling of gender issues in a conventional society. The four women in the movie, of different marital status, are trivialised and subjected to abject neglect by their immediate partners and family.

Umashree was given the Best Actress award for her "heart-rending portrayal of the sorry plight of a wronged woman belonging to a minority community surrounded by an uncaring and hostile society" in the Kannada movie "Gulabi Talkies".

The jury for the awards for Feature Films was headed by well-known director Sai Paranjpye and included 13 other members who went through 92 entries in the category for the 55th National Film Awards.

The Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Film of a Director went to Hindi film "Frozen" produced and directed by Shivajee Chandrabhushan. It was chosen for "bringing to life with warmth and vivacity life in those distant snow-bound heights where existence itself is a full-time challenge."

The award for the Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment went to the Shahrukh Khan-starrer "Chake De! India" for "thoroughly entertaining the audience, making one proud to be an Indian." The jury described the movie, produced by Aditya Chopra and directed by Shimit Amin, as a "masterpiece of inspired film-making."

The Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration was given to Hindi film "Dharm" produced by Sheetal Talwar and directed by Bhavna Talwar, for "powerfully bringing forth the message that humanity is of much greater value than religion". It said the film had beautifully depicted the transformation of an orthodox and superstitious priest.

The much-acclaimed Hindi film "Taare Zameen Par", produced and directed by actor Aamir Khan, who also played the leading role in it, got the award for the Best Film on Family Welfare for "realistically depicting the psychological dialectic between an ordinary family driving their children to educational excellence, thereby neglecting their specially gifted child dealing with the problem of dyslexia in isolation."

Another Hindi film, "Antardwandwa", produced and directed by Sushil Rajpal won the Best Film on Social Issues for "exposing the 'marriages for sale' racket and dramatically presenting a browbeaten girl who finds her courage and her voice and rebels against her tyrannical father".

The award for the Best Children's Film went to "Foto", a Hindi film produced by the Children's Film Society of India and directed by Virendra Saini. The film unfolds a magic world of images and sound to a talented young child by highlighting the milestones of cinema history in a lucid manner, the jury noted.

"Inimey Naagathaan" in Tamil won the award for the Best Animation Film. It is produced by S Sridevi and directed by S Venky Baboo. The movie has created endearing characters who with their antics battle the evil force of greed. S Venky Baboo is also the animator of the film.

President Pratibha Patil presenting the Award 

for Best Child Actor to Master Sharad Goekar for Marathi film Tingya at the 55th National Film Awards function, 

in New Delhi on October 21, 2009.
President Pratibha Patil presenting the Award for Best Child Actor to Master Sharad Goekar for Marathi film Tingya at the 55th National Film Awards function, in New Delhi on October 21, 2009.

Darshan Jariwala got the the award for the Best Supporting Actor for "Gandhi My Father" (Hindi/English) and Shefali Shah for the Best Supporting Actress for "The Last Lear" (English). Sharad Goekar was chosen the Best Child Artiste for his role in "Tingya" (Marathi).

Shankar Mahadevan got the award for Best Male Playback Singer for "Taare Zameen Par" and Shreya Ghoshal for Best Female Playback Singhr for "Jab We Met" (Hindi).

The following are the other awards conferred today:

Best Cinematography: Shanker Raman, Frozen

Best Screenplay: Feroz Abbas, Gandhi My Father

Best Audiography: Kunal Sharma, 1971 (Hindi)

Best Editing: B Ajith Kumar, Naalu Pennungal

Best Art Direction: Sabu Cyril, Om Shanti Om (Hindi)

Best Costumer Designer, Ruma Sengupta, Krishnakanter Will (Bengali)

Best Make-up Artist: Pattnam Rasheed, Paradesi

Best Music: Ouseppachan, Ore Kadal (Malayalam)

Best Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi, Taare Zameen Par

Special Jury Award: Gandhi My Father, Produced by Anil Kapoor, Directed by Feroz Abbas

Best Special Effects: M/s Indian Artists, Sivaji (Tamil)

Best Choreography: Yeh Ishk Hai, Baithe Bithaye, Jab We Met

Best Feature Film in Bengali: Ballygunge Court, produced by Ganesh Kumar Bagari, directed by Pinaki Chaudhuri

Best Feature Film in Hindi: 1971, produced by Sagar Films, directed by Amrit Sagar

Best Feature Film in Kannada: Gulabi Talkies, produced by Basant Kumar Patil, directed by Girish Kasaravalli

Best Feature Film in Malayalam: Ore Kadal, produced by N B Vindhyan, directed by Shyamaprasad

Best Feature Film in Marathi: Nirop, produced by Aparna Dharmadhikari, Directed by Sachin Kundalkar

Best Feature Film in Tamil: Periyar, produced by Liberty Creations Ltd, Directed by Gnana Rajasekharan

Best Feature Film in English: The Last Lear, produced by Arindam Chaudhuri, Directed by Rituparno Ghosh

NON-FEATURE FILMS

Best Non-Feature Film: Hope Dies Last in War (English/Hindi), produced and directed by Supriyo Sen

Best First Non-Feature Film of a Director: Lal Juto (Bengali), produced by Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, directed by Shweta Merchant

Best Anthropological/Ethnographic Film: Tai Phakey (English), produced by Priyam Chaliha, directed by Mridul Gupta

Best Biographical/Historical Reconstruction/Compilation Film: Antardhwani, produced by Films Division, directed by Jabbar Patel

Best Scientific Film: Bhanga Ghara (Bengali), produced by Film and Television Institute of India, directed by Nilanjan Datta

Best Film on Social Issues: Bagher Bacha (Bengali), produced by Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute and directed by Bishnu Dev Halder, and Shifting Prophecy (English), produced by Public Service Broadcasting Trust and directed by Merajur Rahman Baruah

Best Educational/Motivational/Instructional Film: Prarambha (Kannada), produced and directed by Santosh Sivan

Best Investigative Film: The Journalist and a Jihadi (English), produced and directed by Ramesh Sharma

Special Jury Award: Bhultir Khero (Bengali), produced by Amalan Datta and directed by Anirban Datta and Poomaram (Malayalam), produced by Public Service Broadcasting Trust and directed by Vipin Vijay

Short Fiction Film: Udhed Bun (Hindi), produced by FTII and directed by Siddhartha Sinha

Best Film on Family Welfare: Making the Face (English), produced by PSBT and directed by Suvendu Chatterjee

Best Direction: Jayaraj, Vellapokathil (Malayalam)

Best Cinematography: Savita Singh, Kramasha (Hindi)

Best Audiography: Ajit Singh Rathore, Kramasha

Best Editing: Saikat Ray, Hope Dies Last in War

Best Music Direction: Zubin Garg, Echoes of Silence (English/Khasi)

Best Narration/Voice Over: Vani Subramanian, Ayodhya Gatha (English/Hindi)

BEST WRITING ON CINEMA

Best Book on Cinema: B D Garga, From Raj to Swaraj: The Non-Fiction Film In India (English), published by Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd

Best Film Critic: V K Joseph (Malayalam)

The National Film Awards are aimed at encouraging the production of films of aesthetic and technical excellence and social relevance contributing to the understanding and appreciation of cultures of different regions of the country in cinematic form, thereby also promoting integration and unity of the nation.

The Phalke Award, given to Manna Dey for 2007, carries a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh, a "Swaran Kamal" and a shawl.

Manna Dey, 90, whose official name is Prabodh Chandra Dey, has been a prominent figure in the Indian film playback music scene from the 1950s and has recorded more than 3500 songs during his six-decade long career.

He has won several awards and accolades in his singing and music career, among them the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the Hindi film "Mere Huzoor" and the Bengali film "Nishi Padma".

The Government had honoured him with the Padma Shree and later the Padma Bhushan in 2005.

Dey started his career in playback singing with the film Tamanna in 1943. The song was an instant hit and there was no looking back for him.

Trained in classical traditions, his voice has won him millions of admirers in India and abroad. His strong point has always been his versatility. He is adept at not only rendering complex classical music-based songs, qawalis and ghazals but also light fun-laced numbers, romantic songs and "bhajans".

Some of the songs that scaled the popularity charts include "Laga Chuneri mein daag", "Pyaar hua iqraar hua", "Ye raat bheegi bheegi", and "Kasme wade pyaar wafa ".

Successful films for which lent his voice include Awaara, Do Bigha Zamin, Mera Naam Joker, Bobby, Zanjeer, Padosan and Sholay.

Dey was born on May 1, 1919 to Purna Chandra and Mahamaya Devi.

The Phalke Award was instituted in 1969, the birth centenary year of Dadasaheb Phalke, considered to be the father of Indian cinema. It is given every year for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema. Dey is the 55th winner of the award, that is given along each year with the National Film Awards.

The committee that recommended Dey for the award consisted of Dr A Nageshwara Rao, Mr Yash Chopra, Ms Vijaya Mulay and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan.

NNN

Gulzar to get Osian's Cinefan Lifetime Achievement Award

File photo of lyricist Gulzar.
File photo of lyricist Gulzar.

Well-known lyricist, writer, director and poet Gulzar was today chosen for the Osian's Cinefan Film Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award for Cinematic Contribution for 2009.

The award will be presented on October 24 at the opening ceremony of the week-long 11th Osian's Cinefan Film Festival at the Siri Fort Complex here. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit will be the Chief Guest at the function.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious award presented by Osian's Cinefan and the decision to confer it on Gulzar tis year highlights his creativity and his contribution to entertainment that goes beyond cultural, linguistic and other boundaries. Eminent film-maker Mrinal Sen was the winner of the Award last year.

What is truly remarkable about Gulzar’s work is the manner in which he has served as an inspiration for generations of audiences right down to the contemporary times. His films, dialogues and songs have swung from the romantic lyricism of a ‘mora gora ang layi le’ in Bandini to that of the 1970s with Aandhi, Parichay and Kinara, to the youthful moods of a Bunty Aur Babli (2005), Omkara (2006) and Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

A renowned poet in his own right, who won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2002, Gulzar is recognised as a master of Indian languages, dialects and poetic idioms. His ability to trace his pre-occupations in a sensitive manner through a range of film subjects -- politics, social drama or distinctive cultural worlds -- is without parallel in the history of Hindi cinema.

A press release from Osian said Gulzar will hold the Lifetime Achievement Awardee's Masterclass as part of Osian's Learning Experience on the History of the Hindi Film Lyrics on Sunday.

He will also participate in a dialogue with director Vishal Bhardwaj and the crew of Kaminey as part of the New Stream panel discussion during the festival on the same day, the release added.

NNN

President to present National Film Awards for 2007 on Wednesday

President Pratibha Patil will present the 55th National Film Awards for the year 2007, including the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award to playback singer Manna Dey, at a ceremony here on October 21.

Tamil film Kanchivaram, directed by Priyadarshan, was chosen for the Best Feature Film award in the awards announced on September 7. The film also got Prakash Raj the Best Actor award for his sensible multi-layered portrayal of a weaver caught in a web of silken threads woven by destiny.

According to the jury, "a vibrant story and technical excellence blend to create a total cinematic experience" in the movie, produced by Percept Picture Company.

Malayalam film-maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan was chosen the Best Director for his feature film "Naalu Pennungal" (Four Women) for his delicate and subtle handling of gender issues in a conventional society. The four women in the movie, of different marital status, are trivialised and subjected to abject neglect by their immediate partners and family.

Umashree was given the Best Actress award for her "heart-rending portrayal of the sorry plight of a wronged woman belonging to a minority community surrounded by an uncaring and hostile society" in the Kannada movie "Gulabi Talkies".

The jury for the awards for Feature Films was headed by well-known director Sai Paranjpye and included 13 other members who went through 92 entries in the category for the 55th National Film Awards.

The Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Film of a Director went to Hindi film "Frozen" produced and directed by Shivajee Chandrabhushan. It was chosen for "bringing to life with warmth and vivacity life in those distant snow-bound heights where existence itself is a full-time challenge."

The award for the Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment went to the Shahrukh Khan starrer "Chake De! India" for "thoroughly entertaining the audience, making one proud to be an Indian." The jury described the movie, produced by Aditya Chopra and directed by Shimit Amin, as a "masterpiece of inspired film-making."

The Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration was given to Hindi film "Dharm" produced by Sheetal Talwar and directed by Bhavna Talwar, for "powerfully bringing forth the message that humanity is of much greater value than religion". It said the film had beautifully depicted the transformation of an orthodox and superstitious priest.

The much-acclaimed Hindi film "Taare Zameen Par", produced and directed by actor Aamir Khan, who also played the leading role in it, got the award for the Best Film on Family Welfare for "realistically depicting the psychological dialectic between an ordinary family driving their children to educational excellence, thereby neglecting their specially gifted child dealing with the problem of dyslexia in isolation."

Another Hindi film, "Antardwandwa", produced and directed by Sushil Rajpal was chosen for the Best Film on Social Issues for "exposing the 'marriages for sale' racket and dramatically presenting a browbeaten girl who finds her courage and her voice and rebels against her tyrannical father".

The award for the Best Children's Film went to "Foto", a Hindi film produced by the Children's Film Society of India and directed by Virendra Saini. The film unfolds a magic world of images and sound to a talented young child by highlighting the milestones of cinema history in a lucid manner, the jury noted.

"Inimey Naagathaan" in Tamil won the award for the Best Animation Film. It is produced by S Sridevi and directed by S Venky Baboo. The movie has created endearing characters who with their antics battle the evil force of greed. S Venky Baboo is also the animator of the film.

Darshan Jariwala got the the award for the Best Supporting Actor for "Gandhi My Father" (Hindi/English) and Shefali Shah for the Best Supporting Actress for "The Last Lear" (English). Sharad Goekar was chosen the Best Child Artiste for his role in "Tingya" (Marathi).

Shankar Mahadevan got the award for Best Male Playback Singer for "Taare Zameen Par" and Shreya Ghoshal for Best Female Playback Singhr for "Jab We Met" (Hindi).

The following are the other awards announced today:

Best Cinematography: Shanker Raman, Frozen

Best Screenplay: Feroz Abbas, Gandhi My Father

Best Audiography: Kunal Sharma, 1971 (Hindi)

Best Editing: B Ajith Kumar, Naalu Pennungal

Best Art Direction: Sabu Cyril, Om Shanti Om (Hindi)

Best Costumer Designer, Ruma Sengupta, Krishnakanter Will (Bengali)

Best Make-up Artist: Pattnam Rasheed, Paradesi

Best Music: Ouseppachan, Ore Kadal (Malayalam)

Best Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi, Taare Zameen Par

Special Jury Award: Gandhi My Father, Produced by Anil Kapoor, Directed by Feroz Abbas

Best Special Effects: M/s Indian Artists, Sivaji (Tamil)

Best Choreography: Yeh Ishk Hai, Baithe Bithaye, Jab We Met

Best Feature Film in Bengali: Ballygunge Court, produced by Ganesh Kumar Bagari, directed by Pinaki Chaudhuri

Best Feature Film in Hindi: 1971, produced by Sagar Films, directed by Amrit Sagar

Best Feature Film in Kannada: Gulabi Talkies, produced by Basant Kumar Patil, directed by Girish Kasaravalli

Best Feature Film in Malayalam: Ore Kadal, produced by N B Vindhyan, directed by Shyamaprasad

Best Feature Film in Marathi: Nirop, produced by Aparna Dharmadhikari, Directed by Sachin Kundalkar

Best Feature Film in Tamil: Periyar, produced by Liberty Creations Ltd, Directed by Gnana Rajasekharan

Best Feature Film in English: The Last Lear, produced by Arindam Chaudhuri, Directed by Rituparno Ghosh

NON-FEATURE FILMS

Best Non-Feature Film: Hope Dies Last in War (English/Hindi), produced and directed by Supriyo Sen

Best First Non-Feature Film of a Director: Lal Juto (Bengali), produced by Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, directed by Shweta Merchant

Best Anthropological/Ethnographic Film: Tai Phakey (English), produced by Priyam Chaliha, directed by Mridul Gupta

Best Biographical/Historical Reconstruction/Compilation Film: Antardhwani, produced by Films Division, directed by Jabbar Patel

Best Scientific Film: Bhanga Ghara (Bengali), produced by Film and Television Institute of India, directed by Nilanjan Datta

Best Film on Social Issues: Bagher Bacha (Bengali), produced by Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute and directed by Bishnu Dev Halder, and Shifting Prophecy (English), produced by Public Service Broadcasting Trust and directed by Merajur Rahman Baruah

Best Educational/Motivational/Instructional Film: Prarambha (Kannada), produced and directed by Santosh Sivan

Best Investigative Film: The Journalist and a Jihadi (English), produced and directed by Ramesh Sharma

Special Jury Award: Bhultir Khero (Bengali), produced by Amalan Datta and directed by Anirban Datta and Poomaram (Malayalam), produced by Public Service Broadcasting Trust and directed by Vipin Vijay

Short Fiction Film: Udhed Bun (Hindi), produced by FTII and directed by Siddhartha Sinha

Best Film on Family Welfare: Making the Face (English), produced by PSBT and directed by Suvendu Chatterjee

Best Direction: Jayaraj, Vellapokathil (Malayalam)

Best Cinematography: Savita Singh, Kramasha (Hindi)

Best Audiography: Ajit Singh Rathore, Kramasha

Best Editing: Saikat Ray, Hope Dies Last in War

Best Music Direction: Zubin Garg, Echoes of Silence (English/Khasi)

Best Narration/Voice Over: Vani Subramanian, Ayodhya Gatha (English/Hindi)

BEST WRITING ON CINEMA

Best Book on Cinema: B D Garga, From Raj to Swaraj: The Non-Fiction Film In India (English), published by Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd

Best Film Critic: V K Joseph (Malayalam)

The National Film Awards are aimed at encouraging the production of films of aesthetic and technical excellence and social relevance contributing to the understanding and appreciation of cultures of different regions of the country in cinematic form, thereby also promoting integration and unity of the nation.

The decision to award the Phalke Award to Manna Dey for 2007 for his outstanding contribution in the field of cinema was announced on September 30. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh, a "Swaran Kamal" and a shawl.

Manna Dey, 90, whose official name is Prabodh Chandra Dey, has been a prominent figure in the Indian film playback music scene from the 1950s and has recorded more than 3500 songs during his six-decade long career.

He has won several awards and accolades in his singing and music career, among them the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the Hindi film "Mere Huzoor" and the Bengali film "Nishi Padma".

The Government had honoured him with the Padma Shree and later the Padma Bhushan in 2005.

Dey started his career in playback singing with the film Tamanna in 1943. The song was an instant hit and there was no looking back for him.

Trained in classical traditions, his voice has won him millions of admirers in India and abroad. His strong point has always been his versatility. He is adept at not only rendering complex classical music-based songs, qawalis and ghazals but also light fun-laced numbers, romantic songs and "bhajans".

Some of the songs that scaled the popularity charts include "Laga Chuneri mein daag", "Pyaar hua iqraar hua", "Ye raat bheegi bheegi", and "Kasme wade pyaar wafa ".

Successful films for which lent his voice include Awaara, Do Bigha Zamin, Mera Naam Joker, Bobby, Zanjeer, Padosan and Sholay.

Dey was born on May 1, 1919 to Purna Chandra and Mahamaya Devi.

The Phalke Award was instituted in 1969, the birth centenary year of Dadasaheb Phalke, considered to be the father of Indian cinema. It is given every year for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema. Dey is the 55th winner of the award, that is given along each year with the National Film Awards.

The committee that recommended Dey for the award consisted of Dr A Nageshwara Rao, Mr Yash Chopra, Ms Vijaya Mulay and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, an official press release said.

NNN

Soni congratulates Manna Dey on Phalke Award

Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni has congratulated legendary playback singer Manna Dey on his being selected for the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award for 2007 for his lifetime contribution to cinema.

Ms Soni wrote to the 90-year-old Dey, saying that the award was richly deserved. "Your outstanding contributions to music for over fifty years are an integral part of India’s musical heritage," she said.

"I am also happy that the announcement has been widely acclaimed across the country" she added.

NNN

Manna Dey chosen for Dada Saheb Phalke Award 2007

File photo of legendary singer Manna Dey receiving 

the Padma Bhushan from the then president, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in New Delhi on March 28, 2005.
File photo of legendary singer Manna Dey receiving the Padma Bhushan from the then president, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in New Delhi on March 28, 2005.

Well-known playback singer Manna Dey has been chosen for the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award for the year 2007 for his outstanding contribution in the field of cinema.

The award, given by the Government of India, carries a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh, a "Swaran Kamal" and a shawl, an official press release said.

Manna Dey, 90, whose official name is Prabodh Chandra Dey, has been a prominent figure in the Indian film playback music scene from the 1950s and has recorded more than 3500 songs during his six-decade long career.

He has won several awards and accolades in his singing and music career, among them the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the Hindi film "Mere Huzoor" and the Bengali film "Nishi Padma".

The Government had honoured him with the Padma Shree and later the Padma Bhushan in 2005.

Dey started his career in playback singing with the film Tamanna in 1943. The song was an instant hit and there was no looking back for him.

Trained in classical traditions, his voice has won him millions of admirers in India and abroad. His strong point has always been his versatility. He is adept at not only rendering complex classical music-based songs, qawalis and ghazals but also light fun-laced numbers, romantic songs and "bhajans".

Some of the songs that scaled the popularity charts include "Laga Chuneri mein daag", "Pyaar hua iqraar hua", "Ye raat bheegi bheegi", and "Kasme wade pyaar wafa ".

Successful films for which lent his voice include Awaara, Do Bigha Zamin, Mera Naam Joker, Bobby, Zanjeer, Padosan and Sholay.

Dey was born on May 1, 1919 to Purna Chandra and Mahamaya Devi.

The Phalke Award was instituted in 1969, the birth centenary year of Dadasaheb Phalke, considered to be the father of Indian cinema. It is given every year for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema. Dey is the 55th winner of the award, that is given along each year with the National Film Awards.

The committee that recommended Dey for the award consisted of Dr A Nageshwara Rao, Mr Yash Chopra, Ms Vijaya Mulay and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, an official press release said.

President Pratibha Patl will present the award to the singer on October 21, the release added.

NNN

Tourism Ministry launches "Incredible India" events in Russia

A performance by well-known dancer Tanushree Shankar and her troupe was the highlight of the Incredible India event held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Moscow yesterday as part of the Year of India in Russia.

The programme by Ms Shankar showcased India's rich cultural heritage and was organised by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations.

Ms Shankar and her group will present another performance at the Grand Hotel Europe in St Petersburg tomorrow, an official press release said here today.

The primary objective of the Incredible India events, to be held upto September 27, is to highlight the tourism potential of India and to place India as a favoured destination for Russians.

The events will include four-day India Food Festivals in Moscow and St Petersburg, for which a team of 12 top chefs from India's premier hotel chains have been specially flown to Russia to popularise the best of Indian cuisine in Russia.

The Ministry of Tourism is also participating in the Otdykh Leisure Show 2009 in Moscow by putting up an India Pavilion. The show opened in Moscow yesterday and the Indian pavilion was inaugurated by Mr Sanjay Kothari, Additional Secretary, Tourism.

The India Tourism Office in Frankfurt has, simultaneously, launched an integrated outdoor advertising and print media campaign in Moscow and St Petersburg.

According to the release, tourist arrivals from Russia to India are showing a steady growth. In 2008, India received 91,423 tourists from Russia as compared to 75,543 in 2007.

"The Incredible India Events provide an effective platform for showcasing Indian culture, cuisine and myriad tourism products to a large gathering of elite audience in Russia. Russia is an important source market for Indian tourism, reflecting high growth rate over the last few years and it is expected that this growth will increase still further," the release added.

NNN

"Incredible India" at Hollywood Bowl in LA

Craftsman from Hoodka Village in </p>
<p>Gujarat displaying his wares at the Rural Artisan Village at Hollywood Bowl, during the “India Calling” </p>
<p>celebrations in Los Angeles on September 20, 2009.

Craftsman from Hoodka Village in Gujarat displaying his wares at the Rural Artisan Village at Hollywood Bowl, during the “India Calling” celebrations in Los Angeles on September 20, 2009."

For an audience of more than 15,000 who gathered at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Sunday, there was a spectacular musical treat presented jointly by National Geographic and Incredible India, the country's tourism campaign, as the high point of the "India Calling" celebrations.

The event saw the presentation of classical and contemporary music from India, starting with a special ensemble created by sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, who was himself present with his daughter Anoushka Shankar.

This was followed by Bhangra by Malkit Singh and songs by Kailash Kher and melodies of Rajasthan brought alive by folk singers from the desert state.

"It is a very rare and special thing when an opportunity comes along to produce a one-time event such as 'India Calling'," Danny Kapilian, the producer of the show, said.

Mr Sujit Banerjee, Tourism Secretary, said, "The rewards of producing 'India Calling' are endless, but are rooted in promoting more inbound tourism for India from all around the world, and exporting India's culture at the same time."

Special Incredible India bags with tourism brochures distributed at the “India Calling” celebrations, in Los Angeles on September 20, 2009.
Special Incredible India bags with tourism brochures distributed at the “India Calling” celebrations, in Los Angeles on September 20, 2009."

Ms Leena Nandan, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, said a handicraft village and a travel exhibition had been specially integrated with the event so that the combined impact of the craft and cultural traditions of India would spur people to draw up plans to visit the country.

NNN

India becoming popular destination for foreign film shoots

More than 90 foreign films have been cleared for shooting in different locations in India in the last three years, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said today.


Permission was granted to 22 foreign film productions in 2006, 27 each in 2007 and 2008 and 17 so far in 2009.


Among the recent films cleared for shooting in the country is "Eat, Pray, Love" from Waveland Pictures of London, starring Hollywood star Julia Roberts, who arrived in Delhi to shoot for the movie.


The other films granted permission to shoot in India in this period include "Indian Summer" from Mashorba Films of the UK, the Oscar winner "Slumdog Millionaire" in 2007 and "A Mighty Heart" starring Angelina Jolie in 2006.


According to a press release from the ministry, 33 of the films were by UK-based companies, while 17 were from US-based organisations. The other productions were by companies based in France, Canada, Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Russia, Georgia, Italy, Israel, Bangladesh and Pakistan, among others.

Goa, Jaipur, Ludhiana, Pune, Panchmarhi, Mumbai, Thane, Madh Island, Versova, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad are some of the preferred locations for foreign film shoots in India.


According to it, the Indian economy has benefitted through these shooting schedules, which provide employment opportunities to locals, give a fillip to the hotel industry and contribute to export earnings of goods and services.


The release said the ministry has streamlined the procedure for granting permissions for shooting in India. The process normally takes not more than three weeks, it added.


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Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar to be presented Thursday

File photo of shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan.
File photo of shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan.
As many as 33 young artistes from all over India, including musicians, dancers, stage actors and folk performers, will receive the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puruskar for 2008 from Sangeet Natak Akademi Chairman Ram Nivas Mirdha at a special investiture ceremony here on September 10.

The ceremony will be followed by a weeklong festival of music, dance and theatre and other art forms, featuring some of the recipients of the awards, an official press release said.

The awards are given to young artistes, below the age of 35 years, who have made a mark in their fields of performing arts. The award carries prize money of Rs 25,000.

The awards were instituted in 2006 the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the national academy of music, dance and drama, an autonomous body of the Ministry of Culture, in the memory of shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan, who died in August that year.

They are aimed at identifying and encouraging young talents in diverse fields of performing arts and giving them national recognition early in their life so that they may work with greater commitment and dedication in life-long pursuit of their chosen art form.

The following is the list of awardees:

Music

Rajnish Mishra & Ritesh Mishra (jointly) and Vishal Jain for Hindustani Vocal Music; Jai Shankar Mishra (Tabla), Debopriya Chatterjee (Flute) for Hindustani Instrumental Music; V.Sumitra and Manasi Prasad for Carnatic Vocal Music; C.S.Balabhaskar (Violin) and B.S.Purushotham (Kanjeera) for Carnatic Instrumental Music.

Dance

Gayatri Balagurunathan (Bharatanatyam), Gauri Diwakar (Kathak), Vijaykumar N. (Kathakali), Bimbavati Devi (Manipuri), Rahul Acharya (Odissi), Arunima Kumar (Kuchipudi), Meernanda Barthakur (Sattriya), and Purvadhanshree (Vilasani Natyam).

Theatre

Sumit Sharma and Amitesh Grover for Direction, Vijender Kumar and J.L.Saritha for Acting, Irawati Karnik for Playwriting, Ajay Kumar for Allied Theatre Arts (Music for Theatre) and Govind Singh Yadav for Allied Theatre Arts (Lighting), R.K.Sanaton Singh for Major Traditions of Theatre – Shumang Leela of Manipur.

Other Traditional/Folk/Tribal Dance, Music, Theatre & Puppetry

Ritu Verma for Pandavani (Chhattisgarh), Dayaram for Mand (Rajasthan), Sayed Mohammad Irfan P P for Folk Music-Dolipattu (Lakshadweep), Mayanglambam Mangangangsana Meitei for Traditional Music-Pena (Manipur), Shabir Ahmed Saznawaz for Soofiyana Kalam (Jammu & Kashmir), Pramod Kumar Nahak for Prahlad Natak (Orissa), Sudarshan K.V. for Yakshagana Gombeyatta – Puppetry (Karnataka) and Srikanta Bose for Mime (West Bengal).

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170 artistes for Year of India event in Moscow

Artistes performing at a preview in Delhi of a Year of India in Russia concert to be held in Moscow on September 3.
Artistes performing at a preview in Delhi of a Year of India in Russia concert to be held in Moscow on September 3.
As many as 170 performers representing 18 art forms from 16 states will stage a special concert "Saharsa Patra" as part of the Year of India in Russia in Moscow on September 3.

The event, being organised by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) at the New Bolshoi Theatre, will be attended by President Pratibha Pratibha Patil and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

"Sahasra Patra", which means the Lotus of a Thousand Petals, is an attempt to present the living heritage of Indian civilisation, which has the distinction of having remained continuous and unbroken, assimilating all the influences which came from outside, ICCR Director General Virendra Gupta told journalists here today.

Mr Gupta pointed out that the Indian civilisation encompassed so many diversities within its fold and yet had an organic unity.

The artistes who are part of the show presented a preview for the journalists at ICCR's newly opened Azad Bhavan Auditorium.

After the performance in Moscow, about 40 of the artistes will travel to St Petersburg for a show there.

Mr Gupta explained that the performance area in Moscow would be a multi-stage, appropriate for showcasing the country's cultural diversity. While each level becomes a space for performance, it also be suitably used as transitory space, where groups might assemble in order to support the main event taking place on centre stage.

Each group at one point during the entire performance becomes the main performing group, while the others surround the centre stage at different levels moving to the main performance taking place.

The Year of India in Russia was jointly inaugurated by ICCR President Karan Singh and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov on March 31 this year.

The ICCR will be sending a total of 39 groups to Russia during the year.

The Year of Russia in India was jointly inaugurated in Delhi by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov. The celebrations closed on December 5, 2008 in the presence of Ms Patil and Mr Medvedev.

The decision to hold the Year of Russia in India in 2008 and the Year of India in Russia in 2009 was taken by Dr Singh and then Russian President Vladimir Putin at their summit meeting in Moscow in December, 2005.

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"Naanu Gandhi" selected for China Children's Film Fest

Scene from the movie 'Naanu Gandhi'
Scene from the movie 'Naanu Gandhi'
"Naanu Gandhi" (I am Gandhi), a children’s film in Kannada, which has used a contemporary story in a unique manner to underline the continuing relevance of Mahatma Gandhi for all ages, has been selected for the 10th China International Children's Film Festival next month.

The festival is scheduled to take place from September 9-14 in Qingdao, Shandong Province.

"Naanu Gandhi", which has already won international recognition, has attracted attention for the way it reaches out to the young like no one has done before.

Directed by N R Nanjunde Gowda, this film won the Best Film Award for propagating educational values at the Columbia International Film Festival in Carthagena, the first for any children's film from India. It has also been screened at film festivals in Giffoni, Italy, Sousse in Tunisia and Toronto in Canada. It had a successful run in Karnataka late last year.

Gowda has for long been a champion of children's cinema. His "Chukki Chandrama" (Star and Moon) was the inaugural film at the International Children's Film Festival at Thiruvananthapuram in 1991 where it won the Best Screenplay award.

A film that made the adults think about the values they were inculcating in their children, it featured teenage children narrating in a mature way the thin line they tread between love and sex.
Scene from the movie 'Naanu Gandhi'
Scene from the movie 'Naanu Gandhi'

He followed it up with `A Aa I II' (ABCD) that depicted, both at the children's and adults’ levels, the inherent contradictions between globalisation and native culture and their impact on young minds. The film was a runaway success.

Gowda has also set up Children's India, a non-governmental organisation aimed at promoting the cause of cinema for children. It organises an annual film festival in Bangalore.

"Naanu Gandhi" tells the story of a young child who is often teased by his fellow villagers because his name is Gandhi. He was named thus because his grandfather Rangappa had fought for the freedom of the country, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi.

Produced by Ms Kokila N Gowda, wife of Gowda, the film is based on a story by Dr Besagarhalli Ramanna. The screenplay is by Gowda himself. The music is by Raju Upendra Kumar. It stars Master Likhit in the title role along with Ramesh Bhatt, Sundar Raj, Pramila Joshai, Sadashiva Brahmavar, Mandya Ramesh, Raaga Ranga Nagaraj, Venkatachal, N.G.E.F. Sri Kantaiah, Mosale Manjunath, Master K S Sharath Kumar, Master Nandan Kumar, Master Shashank, Baby Nisha, Baby Soumya, Baby Sneha, Bharathi and others.

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Chopra opens exhibition of Kashmir photos taken during Sikandar shoot

Photos taken during the Sikandar shoot.
Photos taken during the Sikandar shoot. (Click on photo for high resolution image)
Ace film-maker Vidhu Vinod Chopra inaugurated an exhibition of photographs of scenic Jammu and Kashmir taken during the filming of Sikandar, a film written and directed by Piyush Jha and produced by Big Pictures, here yesterday.

The film is scheduled to be released on August 21 across 265 screens in India, the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The rights of the film have been sold in Israel, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. The film was recently screened at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles and at the Stuttgart Film Festival.

The entire cast of Sikandar was present at the opening of the photo exhibition, including R Madhavan, Sanjay Suri, Parzaan Dastur, Ayesha Kapur and debutant Arunuday Singh. Also present were Jha and producer Sudhir Mishra.

The exhibition will be on till August 23, a press release from Big Pictures, a part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, said.
Photos taken during the Sikandar shoot.
Photos taken during the Sikandar shoot. (Click on photo for high resolution image)

Sikandar, shot on location in Kashmir with a running time of 110 minutes, is about a 14-year-old Kashmiri boy's desire to play football but whose life-track changes when he stumbles upon a gun one day.

Chopra, a Kashmiri himself, has shot two of his films in the valley. "I made Khamosh more than two decades ago and I again revisited the valley for Mission Kashmir in 2000. So much has changed between this period, and yet much is still the same. I am glad that, along with Sikandar, this photo exhibition will bring to the fore the idea that Kashmir is indeed paradise on Earth, and this paradise is in our own country," he said.

Mahesh Ramanathan, Chief Operating Officer, Big Pictures, said the exhibition would remind cinema lovers and film-makers that the beauty of Kashmir was unsullied by the ravages of inimical forces. "Sikandar also will remind film makers of the evergreen film hits of the past that were shot extensively in Kashmir. After the release of Sikandar, hopefully more producers will return to patronise this film maker's paradise," he remarked.

Director Jha said, "After I set the story in Kashmir, the visual metaphor I strived for, was to contrast the beauty of 'Mother Nature', against the cruelty of human nature. Actually, Sikandar is a film which could be set anywhere – as it deals with the universal manipulation of adolescence by the nasty games played by adults. Having said that, I'd like to add that, Sikandar is not at all a preachy film. It is an exciting suspense thriller with its heart in the right place,"
Photos taken during the Sikandar shoot.
Photos taken during the Sikandar shoot. (Click on photo for high resolution image)

Jha added that his actors – Parzaan and Ayesha – had shown that a typical adult hero and heroine were not necessarily the only ingredients for a film to sell. "Both Parzaan and Ayesha have done a stupendous job and this proves that a film can surely be successful with 14-year-olds as protagonists, without it being termed as a 'children's film '," he said.

The photo exhibition is a wide-arrayed display of picturesque photographs taken during the 40-day shoot of Sikandar and features snow-capped mountains, tall chinar trees, pristine waters of the Chenab, soldiers at frequent check posts on every road, wooden houses and bridges that form the fabric of the daily life of most Kashmiris.

The photographs were taken by Location Still Photographer Pramod Gawade, Production Designer Shruti Gupte, Ayesha Kapur's mother Jacqueline Kapur and Jha himself.

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Nandita Das named Chairperson of Children's Film Society

Nandita Das
Nandita Das

Well-known actor and film-maker Nandita Das has been appointed as the Chairperson of the Children's Films Society of India (CFSI), the nodal organisation of the Government of India dedicated to providing wholesome entertainment for children through film and television.

An official statement from the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said the appointment would be for a period of three years or until further orders, whichever is earlier.

Ms Das will succeed another well-known actress and social worker Nafisa Ali in the coveted position.

The CFSI was set up in May, 1955, under the presidentship of Pandit Hriday Nath Kunzru after the country's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had mooted the concept of an exclusive cinema for India's children.

The CFSI's objectives include the production, distribution and exhibition of feature films and short films for children and providing them with healthy and wholesome entertainment.

Its maiden production "Jaldeep", an adventure story centred around a lighthouse, went on to win the first prize at the 1957 Venice Film Festival for Children's Films.

Several renowed filmmakers such as Kidar Sharma, Satyen Bose, Mohan Kaul, Rajinder Sharma, Mrinal Sen, Shyam Benegal, Tapan Sinha and Sai Paranjpye have been associated with its films. Apart from its own films, CFSI has also acquired outstanding children's films from other countries, thus creating an enviable library.

Ms Das has acted in more than 30 feature films, including Fire, Earth, Before the Rains, Bawandar, Amar Bhuvan and Maati Maay. More recently, she has been in the news for her directorial debut Firaaq.

Among others, she has worked with directors like Shyam Benegal, Deepa Mehta, Mani Ratnam, Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Mrinal Sen, choosing to be part of stories which, in her words, "need to be told."

As a student, Ms Das was an active member of Jan Natya Manch, a street theatre group group in Delhi. She did her B.A. (Hons.) in Geography from Miranda House, Delhi University and her Master's in Social Work from Delhi University. Later, she worked with various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on human rights issues.

The actor has been a member of the main jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005 and at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2007. Recently the French Government conferred her with the prestigious Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. She has won several awards for her roles as well as for Firaaq.

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(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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Rituparno's "Shob Charitro Kalponik" picked for Durban Festival

The promotional poster for Shob Charitro Kalponik.
The promotional poster for Shob Charitro Kalponik.
Well-known director Rituparno Ghosh's Bengali film "Shob Charitro Kalponik" (Afterword) has been selected for the 30th Durban Film Festival 2009 being held currently.

Ghosh will be travelling to Durban, South Africa, for the screening of the film scheduled on July 30, a press release issued by Big Pictures, the producers of the film, said.

The movie will be screened in the Panorama Section of the festival, alongside films by directors such as Woody Allen, the Dardenne Brothers, Lars von Trier, Laurent Cantet, Steven Soderbergh, Takeshi Kitano and Michael Winterbottom.

Written and directed by Ghosh, "Shob Charitro Kalponik" is a story of death and loss with many emotional and romantic moments. It is the story of Radhika’s journey into the life of her late poet-husband, Indraneel and the revelations and contradictions she learns about Indraneel as a poet and husband. She realizes how much he romanticized their mundane, everyday life. Yet in reality, he was often insensitive, negligent and apathetic towards her. She wonders about his dual identity. How can a poet be unaware of his day-to-day realities, yet highlight moments from it in his art? Is art essentially an artifice?
A scene from Shob Charitro Kalponik.
A scene from Shob Charitro Kalponik.

The film features Bipasha Basu, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Jisshu Sengupta, Pauli Dam and Sohag Sen in the main roles. It will release on August 28 in India.

The film has music by Sanjoy Das and Raja Narayan Deb with a lot of folk, modern sounds and also a song by Lalan. Joy Goswami has written all the poems for Prosenjit’s character, who plays a poet. Some of these are excerpts of old poems and some have been written exclusively for the film. Samik Halder was behind the camera and Arghyakamal Mitra has done the editing.

"Our efforts to broaden international horizons for Bengali films are beginning to be successful. Rituparno’s work has been widely acclaimed globally. Shob Charitro Kalponik’s selection in the Panorama Section of the Durban film festival is a first ever premiere for a Bengali film in the African continent. With this success, Big Pictures have now secured selection for 10 of its world cinema titles in over 12 prestigious international festivals in the last six months. It’s a historical first for any production house in India," Mahesh Ramanathan, Chief Operating Officer, Big Pictures, said.
A scene from Shob Charitro Kalponik.
A scene from Shob Charitro Kalponik.

A contemporary director whose playground is the complexity of raw human emotions that are often caught in the web of relationship drawn out by the society, Rituparno Ghosh has emerged as one of the finest filmmakers in India. . His 1999 film 'Bariwali' (Lady of the House) won him a Netpac Award and was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival. 'Titli' (The First Monsoon Day) and 'Choker Bali' (Passion Play) were the respective official entries in the competition section at the Locarno Film Festival in 2002 and 2003. In December 2008, Ghosh was awarded the prestigious Premio Arca D'Oro by the Italian government for his outstanding work. He is also the proud recipient of the National Award for his film ‘Shubho Mahurat’.

Reliance Big Entertainment Limited (RBEL) is the media and entertainment arm of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group. Big Pictures is the motion picture brand of RBEL.

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Anil Ambani meets Spielberg, Snider in New York

Reliance BIG
Reliance BIG
Reliance Anil Dhirbhai Ambani Group (ADAG) Chairman Anil Ambani met with DreamWorks Studios partners Steven Spielberg and Stacy Snider here today to discuss the next steps in the new motion picture company they have formed in partnership.

The new company, formed between Reliance Big Entertainment Limited (RBEL) and DreamWorks, has been functioning since November 2008 from DreamWorks' long-time offices in Los Angeles.

A press release from RBEL said that, upon the first closing expected shortly, there would be an initial $ 825 million available for film production. This initial phase of funding will include an equity investment from Reliance ADA Group, debt financing from a syndication of banks, as well as funding from Disney, it said.

With this financing, DreamWorks will eventually make 5-6 films per year. Earlier this year, DreamWorks signed a distribution deal with The Walt Disney Company, who will handle marketing and distribution of the studio’s films around the world, except for India where RBEL will retain distribution rights.

DreamWorks anticipates starting its first film for the new studio later this year. They have been actively acquiring properties and developing projects for release in 2010.

In addition, DreamWorks acquired numerous attractive projects from Paramount on the separation from that studio earlier this year. An announcement of the initial films to go before the cameras will be made at a later date.

"This venture with Reliance opens a new door to our future," said Mr Spielberg, the renowned film-maker. "Their visionary step has given us a new set of dreams to work toward. Stacey and I thank them for their faith in us and their faith in the movie business."

"All of us at DreamWorks Studios join with our Reliance partners in anticipating the financial closing," said Mr Snider, the former chief executive of Universal Pictures. "We also welcome the opportunity and freedom they have given us to make the films we want to make. We always want to aim for appeal and quality whether it be for a highly commercial concept or an artistic achievement."

Mr Ambani responded, "We are delighted to partner with such uniquely talented individuals as Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider. Ever since we looked at their business plan, I have never doubted that we would succeed in providing them with the financial muscle required to realize their dreams."

RBEL is the flagship media and entertainment arm of Reliance ADAG, with significant presence in film entertainment, broadcasting and new media ventures.

With investments over $ 1 billion already (prior to the DreamWorks deal) in its filmed entertainment business, RBEL's motion picture brand Big Pictures has built a production slate in Hindi, English and other Indian languages, which it markets and distributes worldwide.

In Hollywood, Big Pictures has development silos with Nicolas Cage's Saturn Productions, Jim Carrey's JC 23 Entertainment, George Clooney's Smokehouse Productions, Chris Columbus' 1492 Pictures, Tom Hank's Playtone Productions, Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment, Jay Roach's Everyman Pictures, Brett Ratner's Rat Entertainment and Julia Roberts' Red Om Films.

DreamWorks Studios is a new company led by Spielberg and Snider in partnership with Reliance ADAG. It is a continuation of DreamWorks Studios which was formed in 1994 by Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.

The company won three consecutive Best Picture Academy Awards with "American Beauty," "Gladiator," and "A Beautiful Mind" (both co-produced with Universal). Among the company's other successes have been such films as "Saving Private Ryan" (co-produced with Paramount), "The Ring," "Minority Report" (co-produced with 20th Century Fox), "War of the Worlds," "Dreamgirls," and "Transformers" (all co-produced with Paramount).

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Bhupen Hazarika, Sitara Devi to be conferred Akademi fellowships Tuesday

Bhupen Hazarika
Bhupen Hazarika
Renowned music composer Bhupen Hazarika and eminent Kathak exponent Sitara Devi are among the four personalities from the field of performing arts who will be conferred with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships by President Pratibha Patil at a special ceremony here tomorrow.

The President will confer four fellowships and 33 Akademi Awards on distinguished artistes, scholars and others at the function.

The Akademi Fellowship (Akademi Ratna) and Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) are recognized as the highest national honour conferred on practising artistes, gurus and scholars and have come to stay as the most coveted honour which the artistes aspire to.

This year, the honour of Akademi Ratna will also be conferred on well-known stage designer Khaled Chowdhury and, renowned scholar of performing arts R C Mehta.

The fellowship carries a purse of Rs 100,000, a citation, an angavastram and a tamrapatra. The fellowship is restricted to 30 living persons at any given point of time.

The General Council of the Akademi has also selected 34 practitioners of music, dance and theatre for 33 awards, including one joint award, for the Akademi Puraskar for the year 2008. The award carries a purse of Rs 50,000, a citation, an angavastram and a tamrpatra.

In the field of music, the eight awardees are Ulhas Kashalkar and M.R. Gautam for Hindustani vocal music; Ramesh Mishra (Sarangi) and Krishna Ram Chaudhary (Shehnai) for Hindustani Instrumental Music; Puranam Purushottama Sastri for Carnatic Vocal; B. Sasi Kumar (Violin) and Manrgudi A. Easwaran (Mridangam) for Carnatic Instrumental Music and Ningombam Ibobi Singh (Nata Sankirtana, Manipur) for Other Major Traditions of Music.

The nine dancers chosen for the award are Saroja Vaidyanathan, Bharatanatyam; Shashi Shankhla, Kathak; Kalamandalam Kuttan, Kathakali; Ramani Ranjan Jena, Odissi; M. Vasanthalakshmi & M.V. Narasimhachari (Joint Award), Kuchipudi; Kalamandalam Leelamma, Mohiniattam; Yogsunder Desai, Creative & Experimental Dance and Ramhari Das, Music for Dance (Odissi).

In the field of theatre, the eight awardees are Markand Bhatt and Arundhati Nag for Acting, S. Ramanujam and Probir Guha for Direction, Mudra Rakshasa (Hindi) and Narsingh Dev Jamwal (Dogri) for Playwriting, Amba Sanyal for Allied Theatre Arts (Costume Designing) and Bansi Lal Khilari (Khayal, Rajasthan) for Major Traditions of Theatre.

For their contribution to Other Traditional/Folk/ Tribal Music/ Dance/ Theatre, Shakuntala Nagarkar, Lavani (Maharastra); Birabar Sahoo, Gotipua (Orissa); Mangi Bai Arya, Mand (Rajasthan); L. Heramot Meitei, Thang-Ta (Martial Art, Manipur); Lakha Khan Mangniyar, Folk Music (Rajasthan); Hilda Mit Lepcha, Lepcha Music (Sikkim); Kartar Singh, Gurbani (Punjab) and Lakshman Das, Hari Katha (Karnataka) have been selected.

R. Satyanarayana of Karnataka has been selected for the award for his scholarship in Performing Arts, an official press release added.

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Shakti Samanta retrospective opens

Information & Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni speaking at the inauguration of the 'Retrospective of Shakti Samanta Films', organised by the Directorate of Film Festivals, in New Delhi on Friday.
Information & Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni speaking at the inauguration of the 'Retrospective of Shakti Samanta Films', organised by the Directorate of Film Festivals, in New Delhi on Friday.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni inaugurated a three-day restrospective of films of the late producer and director Shakti Samanta at the Siri Fort auditorium in the capital on Friday evening.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Soni said she and the Ministry were committed to take good cinema to the "aam aadmi" (common man) by organising more such retrospectives of celebrated film-makers.

She praised the Directorate of Film Festivals, which has organised the event, for holding a mini-film festival in Shillong, Meghalaya, recently. She said more such events would be organised in different parts of the country soon.

Ms Soni recalled her experience as Tourism and Culture Minister in the previous government when she found, during an Indian cultural festival in China last year, there was an eager demand for Indian cinema.

She also recalled that the government had made use of the talent of Samanta for seven long years as the Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification.

Mr Ashim Samanta, a well-known film director in his own right and the son of the late film-maker, narrated episodes from his father's life. He said that his father had started as a school teacher at a place 100 kms from Mumbai and would travel to the city every Friday.

During these visits, he came in touch with the well-known actor Ashok Kumar, which led to the making of "Inspector" and then "Howrah Bridge".

Samanta's award-winning film Amar Prem (Hindi, colour, 1972, 153 minutes) was screened at the inaugural function.

The other films that are being screened at the retrsopective today and tomorrow are Howrah Bridge, Kati Patang, Amanush, Kashmir ki Kali and Anurag.

Samanta had passed away in Mumbai on April 9 this year at the age of 83. His first directorial venture was Bahu in 1955 and three years later he turned a producer with Howrah Bridge.

In all, he directed 43 feature films---37 in HIndi and six in Bengali. Seven of his films won Filmfare awards. The well-known actress Sharmila Tagore made her Bollywood debut in Kashmir ki Kali. She went on to star in several of his later films, including An Evening in Paris and Aradhana.

Some of his other popular films are China Town, Barsaat ki Ek Raat and Mehbooba. He started the trend of making double version movies in Hindi and Bengali with Amanush in 1974. He made the first co-produced film between India and Bangladesh in 1984.

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