Sunday, August 06, 2006

Osian's Cinefan: Some afterthoughts

There's something to be said for officially reporting on a film festival. You can shush the pesky security guard with your snazzy media card and flash your Nokia 8210 in a no-mobile zone. Not to speak of the umpteen opportunities to get up, close and personal with the likes of Konkona Sen Sharma.

But I would rather be a 'regular' guy. The kind of person who waits patiently in line for a chance to get acquainted with the best of cinema. The kind of person who spends hours lounging in the hallowed interiors of Siri Fort Auditorium. The kind of person who...well, you get the idea.

The 8th Osian's-Cinefan film festival in New Delhi last month was no different. But with the added attraction of a plethora of premieres this time around.

I would have loved to laze around on the steps, taking in a surfeit of Asian cinema from dawn to dusk. But since I was 'covering' the film festival, I spent time balancing office shifts with press conferences and one-on-ones with the glitterati (or should I say the arty).

And lost out on the film-watching marathon.

But it wasn't a total loss. I did manage to catch 4.5 films in between. Among them was Naseer's directorial debut Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota - a film that managed to pack the auditorium like never before.

The others were NRI director Varun Khanna's American Blend, newbie filmmaker Ben Rekhi's LA thriller Waterborne and the Bangladeshi film Ontarjatra (Homeland).

And what of the film that I left midway? The festival's closing film - Jafar Panahi's much-feted Offside. No, I wasn't bored. I had to file the closing ceremony and awards story in record time. Sigh! The travails of a news agency journalist.

Among other highlights - Rituparno Ghosh speaking on why making a black-n-white Dosar was an experiment he was loath to repeat and of course Saudi Arabia's first ever feature film. Director Izidore Musallam was optimistic that Keif Alhal would be a trendsetter in the conservative Kingdom.

Guys I would like to switch places with

Jai Arjun aka Jabberwock and Nikhil Pahwa aka Mixed Bag. They seem to have spent forever at the film fest.

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