'Zubaan' to open Busan International Film Festival

NEW DELHI: Indian film Zubaan by Mizez Singh will be the inaugural film at this year’s 20th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), which will have a major Indian presence.


Director Anurag Kashyap, known for bold films over the last decade, is a member of the New Currents Asian film competition jury at the Festival.


BIFF’s annual Korean cinema Award will be given to Berlinale Panorama curator Wieland Speck, for his contribution to introducing Korean cinema worldwide.


The New Currents competition section will highlight eight titles from 10 countries. The jury is headed by multi-talented Taiwanese actress, director and screenwriter, Sylvia Chang.


Chinese film Mountain Cry by Larry Yang will be the closing film at the Festival, which is being held from 1 - 10 October.


The festival will have 304 films from 75 countries, including 94 world premieres and 27 international premieres.


Addressing a press meet earlier this week, Festival co-director Lee Yong-kwan said, “Zubaan is a film that is able to highlight the past twenty years of BIFF as a festival that has discovered a number of new Asian directors and helped lift them to world class. Zubaan also demonstrates the current transition and the future of Indian cinema that the world has recently begun paying attention to.”


This is the second time an Indian film will be opening the festival as Buddhadeb Dasgupta's Bengali film Uttara aka The Wrestlers had been the opening film in 2000.


Zubaan, which has been produced by Guneet Monga, tells the story of a young folk musician named Dilsher who moves from Punjab to find success in the big city, before proceeding to deal with its fallouts. It stars Vicky Kaushal with Sarah-Jane Dias, and Raaghav Chanana.


Hansal Mehta's Aligarh starring Manoj Bajpayee and Rajkummar will also have its world premiere at the festival as part of ‘A Window On Asian Cinema’ section. The film is based on the life of Dr Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, a professor at Aligarh Muslim University who was fired from his position on the basis of his sexual orientation.


This section has several other films from India. They include Meghna Gulzar's Talvar (under its international title Guilty), a crime drama based on the infamous Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj double murder case that took place in Noida seven years ago. The film stars Irrfan Khan, Neeraj Kabi and Konkona Sen Sharma.


Films like Masaan (which won two awards at Cannes in May this year) and Mani Rathnam's O Kadhal Kanmani also feature in this section.


Meanwhile, the Salman Khan starrer Bajrangi Bhaijaan will be screened in the festival's 'Open Cinema' section.


Other Indian films in the ‘A Window on Asian Cinema’ areKothanodi directed by Bhaskar Hazarika (Assamese); Orange Candy directed by Biju Viswanath (Tamil) and Peace Havendirected by Suman Ghosh (Bengali).


The New Currents section will screen Radio Set directed by Hari Viswanath (Tamil).


The Wide Angle section will have two films: Jai Ho directed by Umesh Aggarwal (English/Hindi) on the life and work of living music maestro A R Rahman and Fireflies in the Abyss directed by Chandrasekhar Reddy (Indo-British) (Hindi, Khasi, Garo).


The jury will award $30,000 prizes to two winners of the New Currents competition at the festival’s closing ceremony on 10 October.


New Currents is open to Asian films by first-or second-time directors. Former winners include China’s Jia Zhangke (Pick Pocket, 1998), Korea’s Park Chan-wook (Jealousy is My Middle Name, 2002), and Thailand’s Aditya Assarat (Wonderful Town, 2007). 

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