Rakesh Sharma's film wins accolades at Berlin film fest

MUMBAI: After being 'miffed' in India, film maker Rakesh Sharma's feature-length documentary on the Gujarat riots Final Soultions has won two awards at the Berlin International Film Festival recently.

The first award - the Wolfgang Staudte award - which is presented in memory of the noted German film director Wolfgang Staudte carries a cash prize of 10,000 Euros. Final Solution is the first Indian film to win this award which was instituted in 1990 at the Berlin International film festival.

The international jury comprised director-actor-author Catherine Breillat from France, Zanzibar International film festival director Imruh Bakari and German film maker Thomas Arslan.

Said the jury in its citation, "An epic documentary focussing on a culture of hatred and indifference. The directness, clarity and accuracy of the film enables the viewer to both reflect on the universality of the subject matter and relate this to his or her own human attitudes. The film-maker has chosen a documentary form that completely shuns the use of melodramatic effects."

The second award for the film is the Special Jury Award by the NETPAC jury comprising Garin Nugroho (Indonesia), Dorothea Holloway (Germany) and Fang Yu (China). The jury said, "The award goes to Final Solution for its clarification of issues that spawned hate and violence between Hindus and Moslems in Gujarat, its analysis of propaganda mechanisms for political purposes, and its measured voice to seek a final solution to the conflict."

Five Indian films were invited to the festival in the International Forum of new cinema section of the Berlinale. These included Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi by Sudhir Mishra, Maqbool by Vishal Bhardwaj, Kal Ho Na Ho by Nikhil Advani, Hava Aaney De by Partho Sengupta and Final Solution by Rakesh Sharma.

Final Solution was rejected by the recently concluded Mumbai International film festival and was screened at Vikalp: Films for Freedom, a parallel festival organised by the Campaign Againt Censorship. Rakesh Sharma who has been on the jury of the Indian Telly Awards for two consecutive year, has been an active member of the campaign since its inception in July-August 2003.

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