Crossover flavour at Mumbai Film Festival

MUMBAI: The past few years have seen a lull in crossover films but the Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) has screened six such movies, including "Lucky" and "Delhi In A Day" and each of them had a fresh perspective and engaging stories with an India connect.

The six films were screened in the India Worldwide section at the MFF on its concluding day Thursday, and they covered an interesting range of stories, travelling from Srinagar and Delhi to Durban and London. Most of the films were directed by Indians living abroad, except "Arranged Happiness".

If Paris-based Indian director Prashant Nair’s "Delhi In A Day" takes a peek into the lives of rich living in sprawling country villas in the capital, Philadelphia-based Sarovar Banka’s "A Decent Arrangement", which has Shabana Azmi, is about the arranged marriage of a non-resident Indian (NRI) man.

Interestingly titled "Love, Wrinkle Free", which is shot in Goa, deals with the effect of the pregnancy of a 46-year-old woman on her 38-year-old husband and her adopted daughter. Director Sandeep Mohan says his film has an international flavour and is inspired by his personal experiences and observations.

How an architect returns from Dubai and reunites with his girlfriend and then starts a hunt for his missing brother is the story of "Chatrak", which has been directed by journalist-turned-filmmaker Vimukhti Jayasundara, who became a resident at the Cinefondation, Cannes Film Festival.

Stories set offshore include London-based director Avie Luthra’s cross-cultural "Lucky" It is the touching tale of an African boy in Durban and an Indian woman and how they bond despite the language barrier.

Menhaj Huda, a graduate in engineering from Oxford University, wielded the megaphone to tell the story of a London-based Indian man caught between two cultures in "Everywhere and Nowhere".

Of the six films, veteran Kannada theatre actress Jayashree Basavra starrer "Lucky" has impressed the selector of the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

The film has already been to Toronto, Busan and Abu Dhabi.

"I am really happy that Therese Hayes, selector for Palm Springs festival, saw seven films in Film India Worldwide and has invited "Lucky". It is directed by Avie Luthra, an Indian origin director settled in London, for screening at her festival," said Uma da Cunha, the programmer of India worldwide section.

If "A Decent Arrangement" is about the NRI boy’s arranged marriage, German director Daniela Dar-Creutz documentary "Arranged Happiness" is the real story of a Srinagar-based girl Waheeda and her marriage process and it was shown in the same section.

Dar-Creutz said that she had heard a lot about "arranged marriages in India and that it lasts and decided to do a documentary".

"I came to India five years ago and met Ashiq and told him that I want to make a documentary. He introduced me to his sister and who agreed to that," said Dar-Creutz, who didn’t find any problem while shooting in Srinagar and said that "she was welcomed and looked after".

Shot over a period of three years, the documentary revolves around 27-year-old Waheeda and also delves deeper into the lives of people showing the difference between traditional values and the aspiration of young Muslims.

During the 1990s and early 2000, there had been an overdose of crossover films that included hits like "Bend It Like Beckham" and "Mitr" and once again, the trend seems to be catching up and there are buyers for such films.

David Jourdan of Los Angeles-based sales company I.M. Global said: "We are looking for films with real crossover potential."

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