Osian Film Festival to screen 200 films from 40 countries


Mumbai: Around 200 feature and short fiction films from around 40 countries are to be screened at this year’s Osian Film Festival.

Filmmaker Mrinal Sen and author and screenplay writer Jose "Pete" F. Lacaba from the Philippines received the Lifetime Achievement Awards for their contribution to cinema and writing respectively during the grand opening of the Tenth Osian’s-Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema.

The two received the awards from Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and veteran filmmaker Basu Chatterjee respectively in the presence of Osian’s Connoisseurs of Art chairman Neville Tuli, Festival joint directors Latika Padgaonkar and Indu Shrikent, and festival founder Aruna Vasudev.

Sen said in his acceptance speech that he was receiving the award with quiet dignity. This was because he felt that he could still do a lot more to justify the honours bestowed on him.

Lacaba said after receiving the Aruna Vasudev Lifetime Achiement Award that it was very rare for a script writer to get acknowledged for his work, since the credit for a film went either to the director or the stars.

Members of the six juries were also presented to the audience during the ceremony. Three audio-visuals were shown on the occasion, on Osian’s, the Mumbai festival last month, and on actor Shammi Kapoor who was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award in Mumbai.

The opening of the festival at Sirirfort auditorium also marked the formal handing over of the responsibility of running of the festival by Vasudev, who had functioned as director until last year, to the two new Joint Directors.  

Dikshit, who has been associated with the festival since its inception in 1999, declared the Festival open. She paid a tribute to Vasudev for running the festival until now and said she was confident it would grow from strength to strength.

In his welcome address, Tuli said the need today was to venture out into new projects without being too worried about the results, if the conviction was there. Paying a tribute to Vasudev, he said it was this conviction, which made her join up with him for this festival. Introducing the concept of Osianama film complex in Mumbai, he said there was need to synthesize art and cinema to give them respectability.

In the programme compeered by actor Rajat Kapur, Tuli presented Vasudev with a shawl as a mark of respect.

Vasudev said when she had launched the ‘Cinemaya’, the world’s first film quarterly on Asian cinema in 1988 people had been skeptical. She later launched the Cinefan Film Festival of Asian Cinema in 1999 on a meager budget of Rs 600,000 given by the Delhi Government. Joining hands with Osian’s did not mean a surrender of independence, but the coming together of minds.  

The two joint directors, Padgaonkar and Shrikent, said the festival was expected to raise awareness about the best in Asian and Arab cinema. They said the Festival now has a new look and a new feel with several sections being introduced for the first time.

The awards for the films will be presented during the Festival being held at Siri Fort complex and Alliance Francaise in New Delhi from 10 – 20 July. The award money this year would be over Rs One Crore for the Competition Sections and Lifetime Achievement Awards. The winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award were presented Rs. 800,000 each.