As a tribute to them, IFFI celebrated their works, which made them unforgettable chapters of Indian cinema. The 11 artists and film makers which IFFI saluted by showcasing their works are Ravi Baswani, Pamela Rooks, Debu Deodhar, Tahir Hussain, K. Ashwath, Keshu Ramsay, Abrar Alvi, Sujit Kumkar, Bina Rai, Nirmal Pandey and Vishnuvardhan.
Actor Nirmal Pandey, a graduate from the National School of Drama, first shot into the limelight with Shekhar Kapur’s much-acclaimed Bandit Queen (1996), in his performance as Vikram Mallah. He then went on to establish a niche playing negative characters on the big screen as well as on television. Pandey held the rare distinction of winning an award in the Best Actress category when he received the Valenti award in France (1996) for his turn as a transvestite in Amol Palekar’s Daayraa. Pandey had just finished shooting for the film Lahore.
Arguably best known for his portrayal of a small-time photographer Sudhir Mishra in Kundan Shah’s cult comedy Jaane Bhi do Yaaron (1983), Ravi Baswani was a very talented actor & filmmaker, applauded for his comic skills & underplaying character roles in films. He got his first break in 1981 with Sai Paranjapye’s Chashme Buddor. Success followed and he worked in many successful films thereafter. In his career of 30 years, Baswani acted in 26 films. He also worked in several popular television serials, like Idhar Udhar in 1980s.
Producer, director and writer Tahir Hussain is best known as the producer of blockbusters like Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993), Zakhmee (1975), Anamika (1973) and Caravan (1973). He had also directed Aamir for the first time in his directorial debut Tum Mere Ho in 1990, which he also wrote.
Pamela Rooks pursued her literary activities for a while, publishing a book of poems called Final exposure and a novel Miss Beatty’s Children before venturing into documentaries and films. Some of her more well-known documentaries were on the Chipko Movement. Her first feature film Miss Beatty’s children in 1992 won the President’s award.
Well-known cinematographer Debu Deodhar who graduated from FTII, Pune with specialization in cinematography, had worked for directors like Raj Dutt, Amol Palekar, Aziz Mirza, Nana Patekar, Bhimsain and many others. He began his career as an assistant in the year 1972. His work was last seen in a recently-released Marathi film Marmabandh.
Senior Kannada actor K. S. Ashwath started his acting career as a theatre artiste and entered Kannada films in 1950s. He debuted as an independent hero with the movie Striratna. Acting in 370 movies, he had played a spectrum of roles. His last movie was Bhoopathi.
Bina Rai is best known for her roles in the films Anarkali and Taj Mahal. Rai was introduced by Kishor Sahu in Kali Ghata (1951), but her big breakthrough came with Anarkali (1953). Rai’s films with actor Pradeep Kumar remain her best remembered performances. She played title roles in Anarkali, Taj Mahal (1963) and Ghunghat (1960). She believed that after a particular age women after do not get good roles and for the same reason stopped acting in films quite early. Her last release was Phani Majundar’s Apna Ghar Apni Kahani (1968).
Filmmaker and producer, Keshu Ramsay along with his brothers, is most well known for making films of horror-fiction genre in India. Keshu Ramsay made his Hindi film debut with the film Haveli, and directed quite a few horror films besides venturing into production of big commercial movies, mostly featuring Akshay Kumar. Keshu produced quite a few Khiladi films of Akshay Kumar.
The lead hero of 1960s suspense thrillers like Lal Bangla and Ek Saal Pehle, the biggest star that Bhojpuri cinema ever produced, and one of the most renowned character actors of film industry; but perhaps Sujit Kumar’s most unforgettable screen image remains of the guy playing the mouth organ while driving a jeep as Rajesh Khanna crooned ‘Mere sapno ki rani kab aayegi…’ in the film Aradhana. Sujit Kumar acted in almost 150 Hindi films and 20 Bhojpuri films.
Noted writer, director, actor and long-time associate of Guru Dutt, Abrar Alvi is best remembered for his classic Sahib, Biwi aur Ghulam (1962). For which he went to win the President’s Silver Medal for direction and was recognised at several other prestigious National and International festivals.
Vishnuvardhan was one of the most popular and versatile Kannada Actors. Vishnuvardhan debuted into films with National Award-winning film Vamshavruksha directed by Girish Karnad. It was, however, his first lead-role in Naagarahaavu, directed by Puttanna Kanagal, which made him an overnight star. In his almost four decade career, Vishnuvardhan acted in a variety of roles in almost 200 films.