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Indian themes documentaries gain attention at IFFI '12

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MUMBAI: Two documentaries in the World Cinema section portraying Indian themes attracted attention at the 43rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) currently being held in Goa.

One of the films is ‘Algorithms‘ by Ian McDonald which is a documentary on the thriving but little known world of blind chess in India. It has been filmed over three years from just before the World Junior Blind Chess Championship in Sweden in 2009 to just after the next championship in Greece in 2011. The film follows the lives of three talented boys from different parts of India and a totally blind player turned pioneer who not only aims to put India on a global stage but also wants all blind children to play chess. ‘Algorithms‘ is the first ever feature documentary on blind chess.

McDonald said at the festival that the documentary is not about teaching or preaching, it‘s not entertainment either. He was motivated by the real life saga of the blind chess players with whom he worked closely to make this film. The purpose of making this documentary is not to whip up emotion or ‘romanticizing‘ blindness. He simply wanted to focus on the dream of a group of blind boys driven by a man with a vision.

The other film that caught the fancy of attendees is ‘Chitranjali‘. Made by Malgarzata Skiba, who is a member of the Polish Film Makers‘ Association, the film is a documentary on the forgotten story of Polish artist Stefan Norblin(1892-1952). Norblin was a celebrity painter in Poland before World War II and the last court painter of the Maharajas in India. The Polish Art Deco painter influenced by rich cultural background of India created a number of exotic oil paintings, murals and interior designs for his royal clientele. His work, hidden from the world in royal enclosures was recently recognized and restored by Polish conservators. The film brings back to light the fascinating landscape of Art Deco period of Poland and the days of the Maharajas in India. The film celebrates the art and its spirit that prevails over shadows of decadence and tragedy.

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