Notwithstanding the mostly-cold India-China relationship since the Galwan skirmish a year ago, the ongoing 24th Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) is showcasing a large spectrum of contemporary Indian films.
Four of the most acclaimed recent films from the country are being showcased in the showcase section “Viva La Festival”, while another four are part of the “Alternatives” section of SIFF.
Tamil film “Koozhangal” (Pebbles) by debutant Vinothraj P S and backed by star actress Nayanthara, which had received high critical acclaim in its world premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival sometime back, is among the four films in the “Viva La Festival” section, along with Ivan Iyer’s sophomore Punjabi-Hindi project “Meel Patthar” (Milestone) which had premiered at the Orrizonti section of the 77th Venice International Film Festival last year.
The other two Indian films in the section are the poetic “Laila Aur Satt Geet” (The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs), a film in Gojri dialect and Hindi by Pushpendra Singh, and the heartwarming Marathi road movie “Karkhanisanchi Waari” (Ashes on a Road Trip) by Mangesh Joshi.
On the other hand, the “Spectrum: Alternatives” section is showcasing Assamese film “Balconyt Bhagawan” (God on the Balcony) by Biswajeet Bora, Malayalam “The Great Indian Kitchen” by Jeo Baby, Tamil blockbuster “Soorarai Pottru” (Praise the Brave) by Sudha Kongara and Subhajit Mitra’s Bengali “Avijatrik” (The Wonderlust of Apu).
The Apu Trilogy – “Pather Panchali”, “Aparajito” and “Apur Sansar” – by Satyajit Ray, meanwhile, is part of the special “SIFF Classics: 4K Restoration” section, which is also showcasing Charlie Chaplin’s “The Circus”, Hiroshi Inagaki’s “The Life of Matsu the Untamed”, Nagisa Oshima’s “Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence”, Stanley Kwan’s “Rouge” and “Center Stage”, Claude Chabrol’s “Story of Women” and “Hell”, Francis Ford Coppola’s “Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone”, Shusuke Kaneko’s “Gamera: The Guardian of the Universe”, Lee Chang-Dong’s “Peppermint Candy” and Kwak Jae-Young’s “My Sassy Girl”.
Apart from Shanghai city, films from the festival are also being screened this time in new suburban cities like Jiading, Songjiang, Qingpu, Fengxian and Nanhui. The festival is also having tribute sections on composer Ennio Morricone, Hungarian master Miklos Janco and French director Chris Marker.