Delhi in a Day
India, 2011, dir. Prashant Nair, 88 mins..
Delhi in a Day is an engaging film from Prashant Nair that chronicles the events that takes place over a day, after it is suspected that the servants have stolen from the rich, upper class family that they serve. One of the highlights of this movie, is the clever way in which the class differences are portrayed, by showing how each handles looking for the missing money. However, there was certain predictability for me, in terms of how this was all going to end. There were no twists or turns thrown in for fun. The performances, particularly from Anjali Patil, was a delight to watch.
Color of Sky
India, 2012. Director: Dr. Biju, 117 mins..
A beautifully crafted movie filmed in a remote location in the Bay of Bengal, about a man who walked on to an old man’s boat to rob him, and ending up being taken to the old man’s home on a secluded island. On a deeper level, this is a story about man, nature and trust. I loved the unique story line and the slow unfolding of the story and the characters. The pace was perfect for me, slow, like how a vacation on an island should be. There was little dialogue, but much tension and emotion being conveyed in the performances as the thief struggled with being stuck on an island. This was a movie I could truly settle into, watching the tide come in, feeling the effect of the beautiful scenery on me. I walked out of this movie feeling excited about life and connection – this is the best that a movie can offer me.
The Bright Day
India, 2012, dir. Mohit Takalkar, 94 mins..
The film is about Shiv, a young Indian man who feels restless and lost, unsure of who he is or what he wants to do. Like so many North Americans, he decides to take off on a backpacking trip through India, despite the pleading of his family and friends, to discover who he is. There is a familiarly with this film that is very relatable,as India is often the backdrop for self-exploration among North American characters. But the magic of this film is that it focuses on someone who grew up in India, who is now exploring its beauty and mystique to better know himself. The cinematography is beautiful as the film maker takes the viewers on a journey through this colorful and varied country. Along his journey Shiv encounters a young boy who helps him learn some powerful lessons about belonging. The scenes with these two are powerful and moving.
2012 Shannon Rayne
Canada, 2012, dir. Nimisha Mukerji, 72 mins.
I congratulated Mukerji who was present at the screening for her humanitarianism and the effort and little money she got to produce this excellent documentary. I missed this film which was recently screened in this year's VIFF winning an award for best documentary. This filmmaker has won various awards for her documentaries and this is the first time I've heard of this rare genetic blood disease, Thalassema which severely stunts growth and the victims remain trapped in the bodies of children.. Present also to answer questions was twenty-four-year-old Imran (inset). The film not only focuses on Imran and a fourteen-year-old girl, Divya, but also Indian activist Vinay Shetty who is fighting to save the lives of children in Mumbai suffering from this rare disease.There are really good people in this world, and Shetty was present in an earlier screening. Lots of questions were asked, and the audience was moved by the film and donations are pouring in. Mukerji appealed to the audience to donate for this cause by clicking on bloodrelative.net and contributing.
Canada, 2012, dir. Manny Parmar, 108 mins.
It's good to see our own Surrey, BC filmmaker/director participate with his first feature film in this festival. In the interview (see below), Parmar boasts of this being the first Punjab film in 3D. And it was technically good the way the 3D film was delivered when I went to see it on its second screening last November 3rd. Other than its technical success, the storyline is good, and I could see all the hard work put into this film which was first conceived when Parmar was still a student in 2001. His professor and mentor from BCIT introduced Parmar before the film started and praised him as an excellent student who won an award for a documentary he produced. The theme of witness protection in Canada is a topic he develops in this film. Other than other techniques, including the traditionalBollywood song and dance routines, Parmar combines the detective thriller and suspense motifs, as well as themes of love and family relationships. The film will go commercial on November 30 and Parmar said that it's still in the process of refinement before it hits the commercial market.
Memoirs of a Hindu Princess
Belgium, 2010, dir. Francoise Levie, 66 mins.
This documentary is like the Prince William and Princess Kate fairytale. In 1997, Levie interviewed and did a film based on her life as a princess. This film is an enhanced version enriched with archival footage. In this film, the camera accompanies the Hindu princess as she narrates her memoirs in the different palaces of Jaipur, the Palace of Winds, the City Palace, the Rambagh Palace – now a five-star hotel – the Amber Palace and the Fortress of Jaigarth, as well as more secret places such as the Zenana, formerly reserved to women, or the abandoned palace of Cooch Behar in northern Bengal where she spent her entire childhood. Devi passed away at the age of 90 in Jaipur in 2009. "When her death was announced, I wanted to pay her one last tribute by deepening the film which I had devoted to her in 1997 and attempt to discover the secret of her aura and strength," said Françoise Levie, the director.Excellent documentary. Nov. 3, 12pm, Guildford Cinema 4; Nov 4, 6pm Town Cinema, Abbotsford;.Nov. 4, 6:15 pm, Granville Cinema 2
Ishaqzaade (Born to Hate.....Destined to Love)
India, 2012, dir. Habib Faisal, 132 mins.
Excellent film! A beautiful take from the Romeo and Juliet tale of love, mixed with elements from Bonnie and Clyde and Bollywood to boot. The Montagues and the Capulets are represented by MLAs of a region in India where religion plays an integral part. One family is Muslim and the other, Hindu. When a Hindu falls in love with a Muslin, that's a big no-no. But what can you do? Love is love and strikes unknowlingly as it does to these starcrossed lovers Parma (Arjun Kapoor) and Zoya (Parineeti Chopra). What fabulous actors! They act so naturally, dance fantastically and even sing during the Bollywood segments. This is a film that shouldn't be missed. Nov. 2, 3.15 & Nov 4, 3pm Town Cinema, Abbotsford.
House No. 111
2011, dir. Aziz Dildar, 45 mins.
When Basir, a young Afghan man raised in England, returns to his home land to sell the family home, he takes a trip to the northern region of the country where his father, a doctor, was killed. Despite his mother’s objections, he takes the trip and apparently platonically falls in love with a country girl he only sees through his telescope. He decides not to sell the family home, but instead to rebuild it, and make it his home.This documentary ends with some kind of a warning with the sound of a bomb falling nearby and rocks falling. I felt something incomplete at the end because the mother shows up and the next thing we hear is the bomb. If this is a documentary, what happens next? Does his mother go back to London with him? The ending leaves us with questions. Nov. 2, 6:15 pm, Granville Cinema 2, Nov. 3, 12:15 pm, Town Cinema 2; Nov. 4, 3:15 pm, Guildford Cinema 11..
2011, dir. Raz Muhammed Dalili, 69 mins.
This appears to be a semi-documentary as it highlights towards the end of the film the Afghanistan Homeless World Cup soccer victory over Russia televised live in Melbourne, Australia in 2008. It's the story of a young Afghan boy who makes his living selling water and cold drinks. He is subjected to social discrimination at school and in the community, including his football team who scorn him saying he should sell water and not play football. However, the local football coach likes him and trains him until he becomes a star player for Afghanistan and wins the championship in Australia. Although the film is not up to the standards of Western filmmaking, as the transitions were weak and the acting amateurish, I found this film interesting and quite valuable as it gives a rare moment of sporting pride for Afghans. Nov. 2, 6:15 pm, Granville Cinema 2
Interview with Manny Parmar
Interviewer Ed Farolan
I had the chance, by accident, to meet at the SAFF office last October 25th, Manny Parmar who directed Pehchaan 3D. It's the same title of a film directed by Deepak Shivdasani in 1993, but the plot is completely different.
Parmar said that the Hindu title means "identity" in English, and what's unique about this film is it's the first 3D Punjabi film ever done. But what's more is that Parmar iis from Surrey and went to school in Vancouver, at SFU and BCIT, specializing in Film. This is his first feature film as a director, as he has worked in various films in different capacities.
He mentioned he was a sound designer in a film here in Vancouver. He also commented that this kind of a film is meant for the new age generation, especially in the technical aspect, using 3D which has become a big thing in movies these days. He has, however, conserved the traditional "bollywood" style approach, and all the acting and locales take place in Vancouver.
The film premieres Nov 2 and 3 at 9.15 pm at Empire Theatres Guildford. There will be a Q & A discussion with the director after the film..
40 films from eight countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh,
Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan and the Maldives) will
be screened in theatres in three cities: Vancouver, Surrey and Abbotsford.
Updates on screenings and events can also be found on the SAFF Canada site.
2012 Ed Farolan