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Friday, September 21, 2018

An interesting mix of flicks at the 2nd Singapore South Asian International Film Festival 2018 (SGSAIFF)

The second edition of  the Singapore South Asian International Film Festival 2018 (SGSAIFF) has lined up five world premieres, two special screenings, eight feature films and nine short films in competition from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan. Prasad Namjoshi’s Video Parlour, Murari M Rakshit’s Reunion, Pravin Tarde’s Mulshi Pattern, Rakesh Rawat’s Midnight Delhi and Zaigham Imam’s Nakkash will have their world premieres at SGSAIFF which runs from  5th to 14th October. The festival will open with Nandita Das’ second directorial venture Manto which follows the  tumultuous  life and times of the famed Indo-Pak writer ( full name Saadat Hasan Manto). The biopic competed in the 71st Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard section and stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the titular character  with  Rasika Duggal, Rajshri Deshpande, Rishi Kapoor and Paresh Rawal in pivotal roles.

Imam's Nakkash (The Craftsman) also made it to Cannes -  in the India Pavilion - thanks to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B). Nakkash  is the third installment of a  trilogy set in Varanasi (Prime Minister Modi's constituency) Its  central character is a widowed Muslim craftsman named Alla Rakha Siddiqui (played by  Inaamulhaq) who makes a living from engravings in Hindu temples and faces tremendous hardships with his son following a boycott by orthdox members of his community. As the film progresses, Siddiqui faces oppression from both the Hindu and Muslim communities.

Other films scheduled for screenings at SGSAIFF include Umesh Kulkarni’s short documentary Kumbh,  Aparna Sen’s Sonata, Miransha Naik’s Juze, Ektara Collective’s Turup and Rima Das’ Village Rockstars.The  competition jury includes  producer Marc Baschet, film consultant Golda Sellam, film critic Gautaman Bhaskaran, and film-makers Siddiq Barmak and Girish Kasaravalli who is the subject of a film,  O P Srivastava‘s Life In Metaphors which will be screened in the Special Screenings section along with Barmak’s Osama which revolves around a girl living in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime.

Feature films vying in competition are Prasad Namjoshi’s Video Parlour, Rakesh Rawat’s Midnight Delhi, Miransha Naik’s Juze, Indrashish Acharya’s Pupa, Sumathy Sivamohan’s Sons And Father, Naresh Kumar KC’s Dying Candle, Ektara Collective’s Turup and Prashanth Vijay’s Summer of Miracles (Athisayangalude Venal).

Short films in the competitive section include Mallika Subramanian’s Binodini, Muhammad Belal Imran’s Just A Cup Of Tea, Harish Mohan’s Kalki, Dulanka Devendra’s Children Of White, Umang Vyas’ Majaal Hai¸ Akash Mihani’s Mum, Athithya Kanagarajan’s Dreams, Vikrant Dhote’s Ajay and Syahrul Musa’s Glimpse.

 SGSAIFF 2018   also has a niche for the South Asian Diaspora. This section includes Glimpse which deals with Tamilians based in Malaysia and Upneet Kaur-Nagpal’s Singh In The Lion City which tells the story of a Sikh based in Singapore who is trying to explore his identity.

The Documentary Film segment showcases Umesh Kulkarni’s Kumbh, Manhoor Zaidi’s Dust To Dust, Upneet Kaur-Nagpal’s Singh In The Lion City, Aparajita Ghosh’s Dance Of Joy, Anirban Mitra and Tirtha Dasgupta’s Ray Of Light and Prasanna Ramaswamy’s Writer Ashokmitran.

Amit Agarwal, Artistic Director, SGSAIFF will moderate a panel on ‘Rethinking Cinema Beyond Storytelling In The Netflix Age’ which is being held in collaboration with Puttnam School of Film, LaSalle College Singapore. SGSAIFF will also feature two workshops - one for children on making films using smartphones and an acting workshop for adults and children. Supported by the Singapore Indian High Commission,  the festival aims to serve as a cultural gateway between global Singapore and the developing nations of South Asia.

Ronita Torcato

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