Mira Nair gets Indian Cinema Centenary Award at 43rd International Film Festival of India

PANAJI: The Golden Peacock award and a cash prize of approximately Rs five million for the Best film went to the Gurvinder Singh-directed film Anhey Ghorey Da Daan (Alms for a Blind Horse), at the 43rd International Film Festival of India which concluded over the weekend.

The film is produced by for the National Film Development Corporation and the prize money will be shared equally among the producer and director.

The Silver Peacock and Rs one million for the best director went to Kyu-hwan Jeong for the Korean film The Weight.

Marcin Dorocinski in the Polish film ?Rose? by Wojtek Smarzowski and Anjali Patil in the Srilankan film ?With You, Without You? by Prasanna Vithanage received the Silver Peacock and a cash prize of Rs one million each for best actor and best actress.

The Special Jury Prize the Silver Peacock and a cash prize of Rs one million went to director Lucy Muloy for her Cuban film ?Una Noche?.

The awards were announced by jury chairman Goutam Ghose in the presence of jury members Malani Fonseka, Lech Majewski and Annamaria Marinca who read out the citations. The fifth member of the jury, Derek Malcolm was not present. Ghose wished there were more categories considering the standard of the films. The awards were given away by His Excellency the Governor, the Chief Minister, the chief guest, the Guest of Honour, Mr Wagh, and Mr P Krishnamurthy.

There also was a special award, instituted this year to mark the centenary of Indian cinema. This award went to the film The Reluctant Fundamentalist by the renowned filmmaker Mira Nair, which was also the closing film of the festival which was screened at Kala Academy after the closing ceremony. The jury for this award comprised Goutam Ghose and Kishwar Desai who were present and Buddhadeb Dasgupta who could not be present.

Apart from Goa Governor V B Wanchoo and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, those present at the closing included the eminent Australian filmmaker Paul Cox as the Guest of Honour, P Krishnamurthy who is Secretary to the Government of Goa, and Vishnu Surya Wagh who is Vice-Chairman and Manoj Srivastava who is CEO of the Entertainment Society of Goa.

The glitter and shine was leant to the evening by the Chief Guest Nandamuri Balakrishna who is prominent actor of Telugu cinema, and Jackie Shroff, Vishal Bharadwaj, and Shreyas Talpade who are all involved with Hindi cinema.

The closing ceremony was held at the gaily decorated at the specially constructed hangar on the Football Grounds next to Kala Academy, and presented by actors Rahul Roy and Simone Singh who referred to the rich tapestry of cinema that had been presented. The Festival had commenced on 20 November.

Speaking on the occasion, Parikkar promised to come up with a new Festival theatre by 2014 and also set up film studios, and film schools in the state.

Balakrishna, son of the late N T Rama Rao, said piracy was affecting the industry and therefore there was need to create technical standards to fight this. An actor of 98 films, Balakrishna paid tributes to three actors who had made it big in political life: his father N T Rama Rao, M G Ramachandran, and Jayalalitha.

The Guest of Honour, Paul Cox, said India had taught him the meaning of life, which should be an act of love. In a world of increasing globalization, there was need to reflect on our roots and cinema should show more kindness and humanity than the violence that it had become known for. Referring to Indian cinema, he said gems like Satyajit Ray?sPather Panchali had affected him deeply and he referred to the beautiful fusion of the film with the music of sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar. "Some films leave us humbled and speechless", he said.

The culture and diversity of India was exhibited in the cultural programme that followed, where there was a short film clip accompanied by folk dance performances from different parts of the country, among them Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Manipur and Goa. The choreographer of the cultural programme, Longinus Fernandes was felicitated by Mr Wagh.

Accepting her award, Patil said the award had cast a huge responsibility on her that she owed to her director Prasanna Vithanage, and she dedicated it to artistes who thought with their heart when creating their works. Marcin was not present but in a message screened on the occasion thanked the Indian authorities for having found him worthy of the award, adding that he was busy promoting his next film ?Manhunt?. Jeong said he truly thankful for the award and admitted that he had fallen in love with Goa.

Accepting his award, Gurvinder Singh said he wished the ?Golden Peacock can fly to heaven and bring back to earth the late Mani Kaul?, who had been the artistic director of the film. The 3,500-strong audience stood in silence for some time to pay homage to Kaul who had died of sickness about two years earlier.

In her acceptance speech, Mira said that it was not very easy to make a political film in this age and covering four countries.

IFFI Director Mr Shankar Mohan said the process of consolidation which had begun last year had been carried with new features. He also expressed his gratitude to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and its media units, the Goa Government and the Entertainment Society of Goa and the people of the state for the huge support extended to the Festival.

The inauguration on 20 November had been attended by the Information and Broadcasting Minister Mr Manish Tewari, the Ministry Secretary Uday Kumar Varma, Mr Parrikar and Chief Guest Akshay Kumar.

The Festival had featured around 300 films, including 162 films in the international section from seventy countries, of which 84 were Indian Premieres.

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