Tag: Films

IFFI-2021 concludes amid emerging OTT challenge

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By Harish Sharma from Goa, India

The 52nd International Film Festival of India had two newspapers – The Peacock and Novita, albeit without any contact details or email addresses. What if a filmmaker or director wants to contact the editorial department? Unfortunately, it seems like a one-way street where only the newspaper staff can reach out to relevant people and story makers.

One of the evening of IFFI, I met my friend Pritam Sharma, a Mumbai-based press relations officer (PRO) representing the Indo-Chinese Film Society to screen a Chinese film at the festival. He introduced me to many film folks. Anyway, it was time for me to head back home and fortunately, there wasn’t any traffic, allowing me to reach South Goa in an hour.

The Press Information Bureau (PIB) has upgraded its timely distribution of press releases and relevant photos. Although PIB invites various journalists, I don’t know what or where they publish their stories. The Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur, should heed this section of the festival. They should also invite press agencies like PTI and IANS from Delhi, with paid travel and accommodation, in the digital age Both the agencies can publish IFFI’s activities on four to five hundred digital platforms every day through press releases. IFFI’s press conference room is tiny, so much so that even 25 media persons cannot fit there. So it would have been better if the press conference was broadcast live by putting up screens at different points outside. The screens could have also showcased the projects of the 75 talented youth.

The national media has long since bypassed IFFI. When I started going in 2005-06, a lot of the Delhi media would visit. Journalists from almost all the newspapers and channels used to come. Of course, now the media net virus has put an end to all entertainment news. But IFFI celebrates global cinema. If the world’s eyes are on this event, then the national media should also take note. The Indian media records the day of inauguration. After that, the coverage is not the same at the national level as it should be. PIB and Minister Anurag Thakur should look into this.

The time has come for IFFI to go through a radical change. The coming five – ten years are of OTT. Multiplex networks should also start thinking seriously – films will not run in theatres. Recently released Sooryavanshi may provide some hope, but we must accept the truth in the long run. Time is changing rapidly, no one knows what direction OTT will take in the next five years, but changes will happen. That’s why I believe that IFFI should also focus on keeping pace. There has to be a change in the pattern going on for the last 50 years. What that would entail, we must sit together and discuss.

My other suggestion is that IFFI Week should be celebrated on Doordarshan after the festival is over. The national channel should telecast all selected films, documentaries and short films. Except for commercial cinema, it is not possible to showcase the shortlisted films. If possible, the channel should also pay some compensation for these projects.

At least 80 per cent of feature films and short films are confined to film festivals. They should see the light of day on the big screen. Yes, one can upload the projects on YouTube, but there is no income there. Cracking an OTT deal is impossible for 99% of the people – OTT is full of agents and established production houses. So that area is also out of reach of the common producer-director.

Alas, I know my words are simply words and will not make much difference. But there will be someone who can find the way and shine the light.

Lastly, this time the opening ceremony was spectacular. For the first time, many big film stars performed on the IFFI stage. What’s more, insiders say that superstar Salman Khan did not take a single penny for this show.

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Harish Sharma at the IFFI-2021, Goa, India

Iffi 2021 Yatra – conclusion

The enlightening journey covered over the last eight days has finally reached its destination. I had the opportunity to gain knowledge and explore diverse schools of thought. One such highlight was the celebration of the 75 most talented filmmakers as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. Only time will tell which of these skilled individuals will return to participate in the 53rd edition of the International Film Festival of India. The government should aid and support their talent, perhaps find a way to connect them to the National Film Development Corporation of India or the Press Information Bureau. But it is easier said than done.

Another pressing question is whether there will be a felicitation next year in honour of 76 talented young filmmakers. So far, the esteemed Information and Broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur has not spoken about this subject. Had he made such an announcement, preparations would already have been underway, and many more talents would enter the selection.

Minister Anurag Thakur said that filmmakers should highlight Indian culture and traditions on the festival’s last day. NFDC and other financial support will be made available to such films. It was a welcome announcement. First, however, Mr Thakur should go through the list of the last seven years’ NFDC films, considering his party has been in power since 2014. Only then will he understand the kind of culture the institute is promoting. I would also remind the minister of the Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI), headquartered in Mumbai. Both NFDC and CFSI start trending right before IFFI, but the rest of the year, there’s pin-drop silence.

The Japanese film Ring Wandering received the Golden Peacock award for being the best film, along with a cash prize of 40 lakh rupees. In my opinion, the best film should receive a more lucrative cash prize. The prize money for all related awards should increase in parity.

We already know the list of winners, but what’s more pressing is where one can watch these award-winning films? I want to reiterate that the government should employ Doordarshan to broadcast selected films and compensate them for the same. The channel should carry out a strategic promotion. Such a step will prove fruitful for both Doordarshan and the world of cinema and film enthusiasts in India.

The IB minister commended the participation of all leading OTT platforms at IFFI, a first in the festival’s history. But did any of the platforms guarantee the selected films a spot in their roster? Or have they provided a communication channel for filmmakers to contact them? The movies chosen at IFFI are stellar, so hosting them on their streaming platforms should be a no brainer. Perhaps the PIB should work towards this goal.

Many people, including Suresh Sharma, former feature editor of Navbharat Times and now jury member, demanded that there should be a unique platform for documentaries and short films. The government should take the initiative in this. But, of course, YouTube is always the last resort, at least for mental satisfaction, if not for financial compensation.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant reiterated his demand to build a film city in Goa. But, unfortunately, it may not be the best course of action. Goa, a famous national and a global tourist spot, faces two major drawbacks: a) commute and b) mobile network. A state without the most basic of contemporary facilities to build a film city ? Seems unlikely. On top of this, convincing the people of Goa to give away close to 300 acres of land at minimum is nigh impossible.

Anyway, coming back to IFFI… One day, I noticed an EVM machine in one of the stalls. The machine served as an awareness tool for the upcoming assembly elections in Goa next year. Attendees were equally intrigued!

When I attended IFFI previously, a couple of stalls were allotted to traditional Goan items made by local artists. A truly vocal for local experience. The stalls were a hit among visitors who wanted to purchase keepsakes and mementoes. The stalls granted artists exposure and extra income. Since Heineken took Kingfisher under its fold, the cult-favourite brand is available in the market. But the king was missing from IFFI this year. Another beer brand had taken over.

The past cannot remain hidden. Bengali docu-feature Sainbari demonstrated this beautifully and stayed true to facts. The film documents how 15000 people were brutally murdered in a single night. A Panorama India selection, this film deserves many an audience, and the PIB should show initiative.

The global pandemic’s resulting lockdown has been the theme for many filmmakers. Hindi feature film Alpha Beta Gamma is one such film, a selection in the Indian Panorama. The film, whose budget was less than a crore, is the story of a woman, her almost ex-husband, and her about-to-be husband under lockdown in the same house for 14 days. The Argentinian film Unbalanced and Anant Mahadevan’s short The Knocker follow the same theme.

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Usually, horror films are not part of film festivals as there are many different international film festivals for the genre. But IFFI saw Nushrat Bharucha’s film Chhori open to a positive response.

In the evening, five musicians regaled the atmosphere with Portuguese, Konkani and Hindi music. Attendees not only enjoyed the music but also clicked photos and selfies with the band. The musical performance indeed hit the right chords.

Two days into the festival, the number of film viewers increased exponentially, forcing the organizers to do away with the 50 per cent capacity limit. The screenings thus ran to a full house, marking the success of the function. But such an arrangement was not made for the masterclass is beyond me.

Sports films were also well received at IFFI. Four films were shown in this sub-genre, namely Rookie and the Korean film Fighter. In addition, the Champion of Auschwitz, based on the true story of Teddy, a boxer imprisoned in a Nazi camp, was commendable.

The two main attractions of the festival were, first, the string of stalls lining the road outside the IFFI venue’s courtyard. This beautiful arrangement looks even more magnificent at night. The lighting was a sight to behold. Secondly, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, the Tamil and Telugu superstar who has gained a wider audience courtesy of Prime Video’s Family Man season 2 left everyone awed. Dressed in an elegant red saree, she attracted the largest crowd in the entire festival.

Continuing the string of firsts, a Garwahli film titled Sunpat was screened at IFFI since its inception. The 35-minute long film is directed by Rahul Rawat and produced by Rohit Rawat, who attended the festival. While discussing with Rahul, he mentioned that due to a surge in migration, close to 1500 villages in Uttarakhand appear to be ghost towns, emptied of all civilization.

This is not a recent occurrence. When I briefly stayed in Pithoragarh in 1989-90, I visited many villages near and far as a journalist. I came across many villages without a single soul in sight. People who leave Uttarakhand never really return – those settled abroad still visit once in five to seven years, but the people who have migrated to various parts of the country rarely find the time. In this regard, Sunpat is a must-watch. Maybe it will convince those who once called Uttarakhand home to return as tourists, if not forever.

Here, I sign off. Until next year with more stories from the International Film Festival of India.

New Australian body to promote links with the Indian film industry

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By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 1 December 2021: A new organisation Australia India Film Council (AIFC) to promote cultural and commercial ties between Australian cinema and the Indian film industry has come into being.

Promoted by personalities connected to cinema in Australia, the AIFC has its inaugural board members will be producers Sheila Jayadev (Stateless, Here Out West), Jomon Thomas (Hotel Mumbai, Monkey Man) Deepti Sachdeva, Kartik Mohandas and Vikrant Kishore. Anupam Sharma (unIndian, The Run) was nominated as Chair, and Julie Marlow former head of Film Victoria as Vice Chair by the board.

In a message PM Scott Morrison, who says, ” “At a time when our countries are facing profound social and economic challenges, initiatives like the Australia India Film Council (AIFC) are an opportunity to explore our capabilities and build on the special, growing dosti between our two countries.”

In his message the Indian High Commissioner in Australia HE Mr Manpreet Vohra said: “As our bilateral ties deepen and diversify, it is good to see the establishment of a dedicated body like the AIFC to concentrate on film links between the two countries.”

A media release emailed to South Asia Times (SAT) says, ” The AIFC aims to provide a platform that cohesively promotes Australian cultural and financial links with the Indian film industry for the benefit of Australia and Australian screen practitioners. The AIFC will encourage a shared growth of Indian and Australian film relations, enriching the Australian film culture and providing export benefits for Australia by stronger commercial links with the biggest film industry in the world – India.”

IFFI 2021Diary-1: The festival starts amid Goa’s rain, traffic & digitized information

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From Harish Sharma

GOA, INDIA: As it was my daughter Iha’s birthday on 20th November, I asked her and my wife Meenakshi to go to INOX, Panaji, to witness the first day of the IFFI in all its glory.

Travelling from South Goa, where we reside, to North Goa and back is in itself a task. If you use the bully taxi union services, you’ll have to shell out 2.5k for a one-way trip. Besides, finding a cab for the return trip isn’t easy either. So you end up requesting the morning driver if he’d be able to pick you up around 7–8 pm.

Tourists and visitors to Goa face a significant issue in commuting since the private taxis charge such excessive amounts. Therefore, I humbly suggest that anyone coming to Goa use the Goa Miles app, the most reasonably priced Government affiliated taxi service.

On the said date, my wife and daughter used Goa Miles for a mere 1000 bucks. However, the wait-time for Goa Miles is generally long, and they also had to wait for over an hour to find a cab. The clouds decided to rain on parade quite literally to add to this, and a nonstop downpour followed.

When they reached the venue, I received a call and a full report: nothing was happening there, stalls and decorations were still being set up. Nor were there a lot of attendees in sight, and regular screenings and festival highlights will be open for attendees the next day, that is 21 November. On the 20th, there was an inauguration ceremony and dance show at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium.

So my wife and daughter decided to brave the rain and head out to lunch and come back home with the same taxi, having discussed a return trip with the driver in the morning itself. They boarded the cab around 5:30 and made it home some 2.5 hours later – a journey that generally takes an hour only. The delay was courtesy of the nonstop rain and a jammed one-way road where they spent close to 2 hours to cover a half kilometre stretch. Thus ended day 1 of IFFI.

I decided to attend the festival on its second day and was set to go at 10 am. But, unfortunately, I only found a cab around 11:30. Courtesy of letters from Garhwal Post, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, and The South Asia Time from Melbourne, Australia, for whom I’m covering IFFI as a journalist.

I reached INOX in an hour and requested the driver to come and pick me up around 7–8 pm if he was still in the area.

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SAT Photo- Harish Sharma

Next to the main entry gate on the left was a stall where I collected my ID card. The booth also sold delegate passes – a one day pass costs Rs. 350. Unfortunately, besides some Instagram worthy snaps, there isn’t much you can do with a one day pass. Usually, delegate passes cover 4-5 film tickets. Yet, this time, attendees were required to pre-book their tickets online, so same-day tickets are certainly not going to be available either at the stall or through online booking. This is also applicable to the media persons.

I entered the premises but did undergo any cross-checking. The ID card doesn’t say that it belongs to a media delegate. In keeping with the digital times, it features a QR code that reveals the relevant details about the ID card holder upon scanning.

All delegates and media persons receive a cloth shoulder bag that contains a small notepad and a pen with IFFI branding. When I returned home that night, my daughter asked why they were giving away pen and paper in the digital age when they could have been more thoughtful and opted for reusable cloth masks with IFFI branding instead?

In previous years, an IFFI bag has been a constant. But one essential element is a catalogue book of all the films selected for the festival. It would feature information about the actors, producers and directors, including the contact details of the producers. But this crucial set of information has been digitised this year through the IFFI app, which also features the daily screening schedule.

I had not pre-booked any tickets, so I could not attend any screenings. However, as mentioned earlier, the entire venue has been decorated beautifully and calls for shareable, aesthetic documentation.

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SAT Photo- Harish Sharma

After entering the premises, I went straight to the building where the media centre used to be. The security guard there told me that the building was locked.

So, I headed towards INOX, where many round tables and chairs were set up, which I realised was the Food Court. Eight food stalls line the seating area on three sides. The food fills your stomach, but beyond that, it’s a sober affair. However, there is a stall for beer enthusiasts, which is a must for anyone visiting Goa, known for its lazy idyllic party lifestyle.

I was standing opposite INOX when I heard some commotion to find that the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Mr Anurag Thakur, was walking out. I wanted to ask him to check the arrangements in the food court, the media room, but I was at quite a distance to catch up to his entourage.

Anyway, I spotted my old friends and present jury members Atul Gangwar and Vishnu Sharma walking towards me. Atul, thinner and fitter now, has great reach within the jury, while Vishnu has joined the jury list for the first time. Atul mentioned that the Indian Panorama jury is holding a press conference at 1 pm for which he took his leave. Vishnu had come to Goa with his wife for the first time, so I joined them for a cup of coffee.

At 1 o’clock, we also reached the media room, where the Panorama jury was already seated on the stage. The chairman of the Indian Panorama committee, a big name from the film sector, SV Rajendra Rao and other members were in the middle of a debate. Where is the platform to watch the films selected at IFFI?

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SAT Photo-Harish Sharma

These films receive critical acclaim and awards but find no channel or OTT platforms to screen them to the public. Rao sahib said that they are putting pressure through the government on leading OTT platforms to show our feature films, documentaries and short films.

I remembered a similar press conference ten years ago. But, even then, this debate was going on. And it will continue in the years to come. I say this debate is meaningless; when Doordarshan or any equivalent government channel does not show these films, why would any other medium show these films? Now there is YouTube where you can upload your movies.

If your movie is good, YouTube’s audience is huge and will instantly lap it up. Previously, Doordarshan would telecast selected feature films, short films, and documentaries in the National Film Festival and IFFI while paying money. I don’t know what the present scenario is.

Some films selected at IFFI receive a good response at international film festivals. Of course, foreign countries also buy good films, documentaries, short films. But I believe that the encouragement from the films selected at festivals prepares us to make our next short or documentary film.

Like I had also produced a short film Aakhri Munadi (The Last Announcement) in 2001. It was selected in over ten major film festivals. We were shortlisted at the Jersey Shore Film Festival in the USA as well. Although we did not earn any money from that film, Mukesh Gupta, MD a prominent advertising company Graphis Ads gave us two lakh rupees at that time for the film’s production. Whenever I watch that short film on YouTube, I get goosebumps. I feel immense pride for having made such an excellent film. My friend Ehsan Baksh donned the director’s hat for this brilliant film.

Well, let’s move on. While Vishnu and I were walking around, he pointed to a group of people sitting together. They did not strike me as belonging to the film fraternity. Vishnu greeted one of them and introduced me. He said that the gentleman is a director, while the one next to him is an outstanding actor and that his film Koozhangal is India’s official entry for the Academy Awards.

I was pleasantly surprised. After clicking photos with the gentlemen, I read up about the film and watched the trailer. It is a simple film yet pure cinema. If I get a chance, I will talk to them for you, dear readers.

I then headed to the Media Room, complete with workstations, where all the media personnel draft and share their reports and writeups about the festival. However, it was a total disappointment. Two-three tiny rooms were allotted to the media in the name of the media room. I searched for some refreshments and noticed a small machine in one corner, which a boy was managing. I got myself a cup of coffee when a journalist came and asked the boy for tea and a packet of biscuits.

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It was then that I realized that biscuits are also a part of the refreshments. I reminisced about the media room from my previous visits and the 5-star refreshments available for all media persons. But I am sure IFFI provided whatever facility was available to them this year.

I saw an SMS from the Press Information Bureau (PIB): at 4.30 pm, there would be a press conference with five of the 75 brightest shortlisted participants. In the ongoing celebrations of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, commemorating 75 years of independence, the 52nd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is hosting 75 creative minds from all over the country shortlisted by a jury committee of esteemed film personalities.

So I went there and mingled with them. Most of the winners said they had produced their projects using mobile phone cameras and edited the footage themselves. A young man, Shubham Sharma, two of whose projects, a short named Ek Meetha Khilona and a music video, had been shortlisted, said that the festival had felicitated his talent and increased his enthusiasm tenfold. He now plans to direct a documentary and hopes to be selected at IFFI next year. This recognition has given wings to this dream.

- November 25, 2021.

Upcoming on Netflix: Aranyak -Hindi & Minnal Murali -Malayalam (See Teaser & Trailer)

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By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 10 November 2021: A thriller series in Hindi and a superhero film in Malayalam are slated for streaming on Netflix in December 2021. Both are quite different in content but are likely to entertain in the post-lockout year-end atmosphere.

ARANYAK (Hindi): Get ready to embark on a journey packed with thrill and mystery, that’s bound to get your heart racing. The queen of 90’s Bollywood -Raveena Tandon, is all set to make her entry into the streaming world as a tough pahadi cop Kasturi Dogra in Netflix’s upcoming crime thriller ‘Aranyak’. Translating to a forest or a dweller of the forest, Aranyak brings to you a dark and gritty tale from the midst of an eerie jungle and a mysterious town that will leave you hooked. The show will take you on a ride that touches folklore, murder, and a plethora of unanswered questions. Aranyak is set to release on December 10, 2021, exclusively on Netflix!

ARANYAK OFFICIAL TEASER

ARANYAK IN A NUTSHELL: After a foreign teenage tourist disappears in a misty town, a harried, local cop Kasturi must join hands with her city-bred replacement Angad, on a big-ticket case that digs up skeletons and revives a forgotten myth of a bloodthirsty, serial killing entity in the forest

Aranyak releases on Netflix on December 10, 2021!

Producer: Roy Kapur Films, Ramesh Sippy Entertainment

Showrunner: Rohan Sippy

Director: Vinay Waikul

Writer: Charudutt Acharya

Cast: Raveena Tandon, Parambrata Chatterjee, Ashutosh Rana, Zakir Hussain, Megna Malik

MINNAL MURALI (Malayalam): Are you ready to witness the power of lightning and superhuman strength unleashed to defeat evil and save the world? Netflix today launched the trailer of its much-awaited superhero film, Minnal Murali. Set in the ’90s, the film unfolds the tale of an ordinary man who becomes a superhuman after being struck by lightning. The film promises to touch on various human emotions and grip the audience with action-packed performances, making this family entertainer a must-watch for the holiday season.

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Photo-Netflix

The film will see Malayalam heartthrob, Tovino Thomas in a never seen before avatar of a superhero. Joining him will be an ensemble of versatile actors in pivotal roles, including Guru Somasundaram, Harisree Ashokan, and Aju Varghese… Produced by Weekend Blockbusters (Sophia Paul) and directed by Basil Joseph, Minnal Murali will premiere worldwide on December 24, 2021, exclusively on Netflix. In addition to Malayalam, the film will also premiere in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, and English.

Director, Minnal Murali, Basil Joseph shared, “I have always been a huge fan of superhero fiction, right from the comic books to the early noir superhero movies. I wanted to find the best superhero origin stories that would appeal to a wide set of audience and with Minnal Murali, that dream has come to life. Thanks to Weekend Blockbusters for the opportunity, Tovino for his dedication, and having Netflix as a partner to complete our vision.”

Sharing his excitement about Minnal Murali, Tovino Thomas said, “Minnal Murali is the kind of story that will engross and captivate everyone until the very end. I play the enigmatic character, Jaison a.k.a Minnal Murali, who is hit by a bolt of lightning and gets supernatural powers. Taking on the role of Minnal Murali has been a challenging experience for me. Basil Joseph’s vision is truly unparalleled and I can’t wait for audiences around the world to watch it”

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Photo-Netflix

Talking about the production of the film, Sophia Paul from Weekend Blockbusters said, “We knew we were embarking on something special and challenging, and something we had not done before. It was a remarkable journey during these unprecedented times. The biggest achievement of this project is the team that made Minnal Murali possible. It was a two-year-long adventure and the entire team worked day and night so that Minnal Murali could be that superhero we all wanted him to be!”

Catch the tale of good versus evil on your screens on December 24, 2021, exclusively on Netflix.

Director: Basil Joseph

Actors: Tovino Thomas, Guru Somasundaram, Harisree Ashokan, Aju Varghese

Writer, Screenplay, Dialogue: Arun A.R, Justin Matthews

Lyrics: Manu Manjith

Music: Shaan Rahman, Sushin Shyam

MINNAL MURALI OFFICIAL TRAILER

Anecdotes from the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa

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From Harish Sharma in Goa, India

I have had the pleasure of attending the International Film Festival of India, which is held in Goa annually, as a journalist and a documentary film producer. I have also enjoyed the prestigious festival as part of the promotional team for several films.

This festival has an impeccable appeal; you can’t help coming back every year if you attend once. Every element is exceptional, from the international films screened at INOX and Kala Bhavan to the NFDC Film Bazaar held at the J.W Marriott Hotel.

The two main programs welcome filmmakers and artists from around the globe whose presence and insights are invaluable additions to the festival. However, why is it that the same roster of artists and journalists is invited over and over again? Why aren’t newer faces invited to the NFDC?

But after experiencing the festival firsthand, I realized that inviting new and various artists every year is not an easy task. It comes down to their availability. However, some of them aren’t even active and still partake in a lovely little Goan holiday with family when it comes to journalists.

I hope the government has taken steps to remedy this. After a long break, I am attending this year and hope to see upgrades and changes thus undertaken by the government.

The primary difference between IFFI and NFDC comes down to access. Anyone and everyone can attend IFFI. Even tourists can take day passes and attend the festival. On the other hand, getting into NFDC isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. A three-day delegate fee for NFDC costs somewhere between ₹5500-7000, while IFFI’s 8-day access costs merely ₹1180. IFFI also extends free entry for students who can avail of 4 film tickets per day through online booking.

The NFDC Film Bazaar will be held from November 20 to November 22, while IFFI will open from November 20 to November 28. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, last year’s festival was postponed to January 2021. Thus, this will be IFFI’s 52nd year.

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Media personnel can register for free after clearing some formalities. The pass allows you to watch world cinema, interact with producers, directors, and actors, spread your network with journalists old and new. The food stalls outside INOX offer mouthwatering delicacies too. You can even enjoy a pint or two of Kingfisher, provided that the booth still exists.

The hall would feature various computers for journalists to report back to their respective mediums. I am guessing laptops should have replaced desktops as technology has advanced.

My favorite spot at this festival is the craft services stall right in front of the media hall offered by Taj or some Panchtara Hotel. Catching up with journalist friends over cups of coffee is the highlight of the event for me.

I vividly recall the then chief minister of Goa had attended IFFI without any security detail. It was my first time at the festival, where I saw then Goa CM Digambar Kamat quietly dining on the table adjacent to mine. I was surprised to witness this sight. After that, I would see him at IFFI every year, and we even exchanged a few words here and there. His humble presence left me speechless.

Later, when the government was changed, I wondered whether newly elected CM Manohar Parikkar would attend the festival. Parikkar outdid his predecessor in humility and would dine with journalists at the same table. He would even pay from his pocket for our meals. His security staff would be stationed at the main gate while he happily mingled with the attendees inside. He was responsible for many positive changes in the annual film festival.

It remains to be seen if the present chief minister Pramod Sawant will extend the same courtesy to media persons like his forerunners.