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Anup Singh’s ‘Qissa’ gets multi-platform release

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NEW DELHI: Qissa by Anup Singh, which has already won accolades on the international festival circuit, has finally hit the theatres.

Interestingly in a unique venture, the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) decided to release the film across multiple platforms simultaneously. It has been released theatrically, on DVDs, and on some websites as well.

NFDC general manager and head of marketing Vikramjit Roy told Indiantelevision.com that the international acclaim that the film had won all over the world and in India made it necessary for it to be made available on all formats. Roy said that it was not a typical film and therefore the NFDC had decided not to treat its release in a typical manner.

Meanwhile, Anup Singh told Indiantelevision.com that the 2013 film has so far been to around 100 film festivals and won 15 awards, including one in India.

He said the Punjabi film was based on an original story and could be seen in various ways. It had been inspired by the stories he had heard of his grandfather’s struggle during the partition of the country. But the idea of bringing up a girl child as a boy could be seen as symbolic of many things: the desire for the head of the family to have a male child after three daughters, the way many female children were dressed as boys during Partition to save them from exploitation, and the way history and tradition continues to affect even modern contemporary Indian society.

Among other places, the film was one of the nine Asian films in competition at the 20th Festival International des Cinémas d'Asie in Vesoul in France.

Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost was also the opening film of the 43rd International Film Festival at Rotterdam from 22 January to 2 February last year and this marked the European premiere of the film. It won the Audience Award at that Festival. 

The award comprising Euro 10,000 (Rs 9 lakh approx) is given to the most voted film supported by the Hubert Bals Fund.

Qissa which received the Hubert Bals Fund for Script & Project Development in 2004, was made with further support from the Netherlands Film Fund, and was co-produced by Dutch company Augustus Film.

Set in post-colonial India, the film stars Irrfan Khan as a Sikh who has fled his village to escape ethnic cleansing at the time of partition who tries to start a new life for his family. The film stars Irrfan Khan with Tisca Chopra, Tillotama Shome, Rasika Dugal, Sonia Bindra and Faezeh Jalali among others.

Qissa is represented internationally by Germany's The Match Factory GmbH. The film had its North American and Asian premieres at the Toronto International Film Festivaland Busan International Film Festival respectively.

Earlier, the film added one more feather in its cap when actor Tillotama Shome won the Best Actress award in the New Horizons competition at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

In Qissa, Shome plays the youngest daughter of Umber Singh (Irrfan Khan) who decides to raise her as a boy.

Shome made her screen debut with Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding in 2001 and went on to play roles in Florian Gallenberger’s Shadows of Time and Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai.

Qissa also won the Silver Gateway Award in India Gold competition at the 15th Mumbai Film Festival  and the NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award for Best Asian Film at the 38th Toronto International Film Festival where it had its premiere.

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