IIFA to showcase Indian regional cinema in Dubai

Regional Indian language cinema is about to get a shot in the arm in west Asia courtesy The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA). IIFA, which is organizing the 2006 IIFA Film Festival from 15-17 June at the Grand Cineplex in Dubai, as part of the 7th Annual IIFA Weekend and Awards, will be screening 14 commercial Hindi films, six Tamil film, three Malayalam, three Telugu and a Marathi and Bengali film respectively.

These apart, five short films will also be showcased at the festival. This is a first for IIFA as South Indian cinema has never been showcased prior to this.“One of the reasons why we are showcasing regional cinema is that Indian cinema is not about Bollywood alone. Last year we showcased Marathi and Bengali films. Two years back in Singapore we had a world premiere of Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film Ayutha Ezhuthu. This year we have added Malayalam and Telugu films too,” says Sabbas Joseph, director Wizcraft, the brains behind IIFA.

“IIFA is a festival dedicated to project Indian cinema globally and the inclusion of Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu titles is a step in that direction. We will be adding more films to our screens so that IIFA can continue to retain its position as the leading Indian cinema platform globally,” he added.

Joseph further elaborated that stalwarts from the South Industry like Vikram, Mammooty, Prabhu, Mohanlal, Madhavan, Meera, Jasmine, Simran, Raj Kumar and Radhika will be participating at the IIFA festival too.

On quizzing as to why there was only one film in Marathi and Bengali being screened compared to the number of South Indian films; Joseph explains, “In Dubai there are a lot of South Indian people and comparatively the audiences are more.”

When queried as to whether there were any South Indian personalities on the panel, Joseph replied in the negatively but added that the likes of Manmohan Shetty, Shyam Shroff, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Ramesh Sippy, Pahlaj Nihalani, J.P. Dutta, David Dhawan and Karan Johar were on the panel.

The film festival is part of the 2006 IIFA Weekend and Awards, the four-day extravaganza to be held in Dubai from 14-17 June. The IIFA event is presented by Tiara Residence, the AED $2.1 billion exclusive island lifestyle community developed by UAE based Zabeel Investments.

The Hindi titles being screened comprise Veer Zara, Bunty Aur Babli, Black, Salaam Namaste, Parineeta, Bluffmaster, Page 3, Garam Masala, Iqbal, Mixed Doubles, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Yahaan, Let’s Talk and No Entry.

The South Indian films lined up include Kannathil Muthamiltal, Nayakan, Pokiri, Autograph, Anniyan, Ayutha Ezhuthu, Gajini, Rajamanickyam, Thanmatra, Rasathantram, Kaazhcha, 7G Brundavana Colony, Tagore, and Chandramukhi.

Bengali film Antar Mahal and Marathi cinema’s Dombivli Fast along with five short films namely Horn Ok Please, Village Football, Raju and I, Cataract and The Friend will also be screened at the IIFA Film Festival.

All the films have been selected by the IIFA Film Festival management based on their critical and commercial acclaim.