Europe’s largest festival of Indian film presents the current works of acclaimed masters of cinematic narration on the big screen: The 16th Indian Film Festival opens on Wednesday, July 17th at Metropol Cinema (Bolzstrasse) with the visually powerful road movie ‘Namdev Bhau – In Search of Silence’ by director Dar Gai. An exasperated chauffeur flees from the noise in the megametropolis of Mumbai. An eight-year-old boy joins him on his journey in search of the mystical “Silent Valley”. A great adventure lies ahead of them.
Highly anticipated by audiences is the world premiere of ‘Lihaaf – The Quilt’ by Rahat Kazmi with the brilliant Tannishtha Chatterjee who conquered the hearts of cinemagoers in Stuttgart when her film “Parched” was screened here three years ago. The splendid history film ‘Ek Je Chhilo Raja – The Imposter Prince’ by Srijit Mukherji is just as fascinating as the mystery surrounding the Czar’s daughter Anastasia: Following the bon viveur’s downfall, an Indian hereditary prince is pronounced dead in the 1930s. Twelve years later, a mysterious monk appears – is it the lost prince, or a fraud?
Several of the 50 Festival films take us on a quest in the style of a road movie: in search of a father who disappeared without a trace (such as ‘Hamid’ by Aijaz Khan and ‘Chippa’ by Safdar Rahman), or of the “Silent Valley” (‘Namdev Bhau – In Search of Silence’ by Dar Gai). In ‘Abyakto – Unsaid’ by Arjun Dutta, a son finds out about his father’s homosexuality long after his death. Talking to his mother and a long-time friend of his father, the son reveals the family secret.
The satirical comedy ‘#Gadhvi’ by Gaurav Bakshi is a tongue-in-cheek account of how pacifist Gadhvi is established as the face of the anti-corruption movement by social media. And in ‘Ek Sangaychay – Unsaid Harmony’ by Lokesh Vijay Gupte, the generation conflict in four families escalates until a bloody tragedy marks the turning point. With calm and poetic images ‘The Gold-Laden Sheep & The Sacred Mountain’ by Ridham Janve depicts a shepherd’s moral conflict: Will he dare to take the forbidden step and climb the sacred mountain? The 16th Indian Film Festival’s unique mix of topics also scores with celebrity chef Vikas Khanna’s feature film debut: ‘The Last Color’ is about widows, orphans, and the arbitrary use of police power. And the drama ‘The Sweet Requiem – Kyoyang Ngarmo’ by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam deals with the life of exile Tibetans in Delhi.
The cinematic five-day journey through India dares to take a critical glimpse behind the discreet walls of an ashram for widows (‘Widows of Vrindavan’ by Onir) and portrays an Indian inventor who survived the bombing of Stuttgart (‘G.D. Naidu – The Edison of India’ by Renjith Kumar). At age 50, ‘Coral Woman’ Uma learns how to dive and finds herself surrounded by coral reefs being destroyed by plastic waste (‘Coral Woman’ by Priya Thuvassery). As part of a Tea Matinee event, the documentary ‘Satyarthi’ by Pankaj Johar honours the eponymous winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize (2014). Shammi Singh, an Indo-German director living in Stuttgart, celebrates the world premiere of his documentary film ‘Women’s Voice – India’s Choice’. The film programme presented by the 2019 Festival edition is more political, assertive, and serious, yet still includes a generous helping of entertainment.
In a special programme, Bollywood channel ZeeOne from Munich introduce audiences to their new highlight series from India: ‘’Zindagi Ki Mehek’, ‘Kaleerein’, and ‘Ek Tha Raja EkThi Rani’.
In the ‘Making of Indian Cinema’ panel, cinematographers from the world’s largest film industry take centre stage. Four DoPs come to Stuttgart to represent the eyes of Indian cinema as guests of the Festival: Pooja Gupte and her colleagues Paramvir Singh, Sudeep Chatterjee, and Shanti Bhushan Roy.
Therese Schopper, Minister of the State of Baden-Württemberg is among the lecturers of the four Tea Talks supported by Robert Bosch Stiftung. This year, the Talks deal with the following issues: How can India, Germany, and the EU deepen relations in the future? How do the great powers India and China get along? How does India as a “WhatsApp nation” deal with fake news and environmental initiatives? How much ancient Indian knowledge can be found in homoeopathy and natural cosmetics?
Dance groups and musicians such as soloist Manoj Baruah from Assam with his five-string violin, or the traditional Kathputli puppet theatre from Rajasthan add special spots of colour. The 16th Indian Film Festival Stuttgart will close with the awards ceremony where the coveted ‘German Star of India’ film prizes will be awarded to the winners of the feature film, short film, and documentary film competition categories. The Festival’s main sponsor is global entrepreneur Andreas Lapp from Stuttgart, Honorary Consul of the Republic of India for the States of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. The Festival is supported by the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg and Stuttgart as its capital city.
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