FC@Berlin 2019, Dispatch 1 – Before Zoya Akhtar and Rima Das, these Indians were at the Berlinale (yup, Ram Gopal Varma’s in the list)

Posted on February 7, 2019

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/berlin-film-festival-indians-at-berlinale-before-zoya-akhtar-rima-das/

Mainstream ventures like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Paruthiveeran, Dil Se. Art-house classics by Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen. And Shah Rukh Khan seems really popular.

In a review dated May 15, 1977, India Today characterised Shyam Benegal’s Manthan as “a valid contribution in sociological terms”. True enough. The film is, after all, about the empowerment of rural milk producers, through a co-operative. But what was it doing in the Culinary Cinema section at the 2010 Berlinale, alongside films like Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker’s Kings of Pastry, which was about French pastry chefs competing for an award? For that, we must turn to this section’s credo: “Films about the dark sides of the food world, such as hunger and poor nutrition, monocultures and factory farming, are also an important part of the programme because they raise awareness about the consequences of our eating habits.”

Going through the Berlinale’s selections over the years yields fascinating trivia about the Indian presence at the festival. The earliest entry I found was from 1956. Come on, take a guess. No, it isn’t Jagte Raho, the Raj Kapoor-starrer that won four National Awards and the Crystal Globe Grand Prix at the 1957 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. It isn’t Satyajit Ray’s Aparajito, either — the second installment of his career-launching trilogy. The film is (drumroll)… Spring Comes to Kashmir, a 12-minute Films Division documentary directed by Ravi Prakash. It won the Silver Bear in the Short Film category. Here it is, in gorgeous Eastman Colour.

Continued at the link above.

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